Facebook has released Facebook Lite, a light version of its core application, to its users in the United States and other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, New Zealand, and Ireland. Originally launched in 2015 for developing markets where internet connection is limited, Facebook Lite comes in at less than 1MB, which really varies with device. The app is a smaller version of Facebook's main app for mobile devices and is based on the Snaptu version of Facebook used in many feature phones. Facebook Lite is optimized to work nicely with 2G networks in areas where internet coverage is weak.
While it is built as a stripped down version of the core Facebook app, Facebook Lite offers some of the major features that users may expect to experience such as receiving notifications about what their friends are up to at a given moment, view pictures, chat with friends individually or in group chats, and more. That is on top of providing some speed and stability improvements to Facebook fans that use older or low-end devices. It also receives updates and new features from the social networking giant from time to time. In April last year, the company pushed out reactions and custom camera filters to Facebook Lite in India, with the features having been optimized and compressed as well to a level acceptable for Facebook Lite in order to use a minimal amount of bandwidth and processing power. The app was originally available in over 100 emerging markets including Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Now it is available to download in some of the most developed economies where people can still experience poor internet connectivity, as the company noted. Since its maiden launch three years ago, Facebook Lite's user base has grown to hundreds of millions of subscribers, with the app surpassing the 200 million mark in February last year.
While the latest turn of events marks the official debut of Facebook Lite in the U.S. and other developed markets, its APK has been available to download in those countries for quite some time. That means other users in the aforementioned countries may already have been using Facebook Lite when necessary.