Facebook has rolled out a new version of its app for Android phones in India that is aimed at users with slow and spotty network connections.
The app, Facebook Lite, has been available in Europe since it was launched on June 4. It is a lighter version – with a size of just 430 KB – and has been optimised for slower data connections.
Facebook head of products (Facebook Lite) Vijay Shankar said the app has been "built ground up for markets like India" where internet speeds are slow.
“In India, over 80% of the users are on 2G networks. We have worked on improving the app’s performance even on spotty connections and across devices, from entry-level devices to high-end ones," he said.
The app was developed after Facebook received feedback that the standard Facebook app did not load quickly on some devices. Facebook Lite has been tweaked so that users have virtually the same experience as those using the standard app.
Facebook Lite features all core functions of the standard app such as news feed, messaging, photos, links and notifications but it does not show videos on the news feed. It also allows users to select the quality of images on the news feed to optimise data consumption.
Shankar also said Facebook had added 13 million users in six months to take its user base in India to 125 million. India is Facebook’s second biggest market globally.
"In India, Facebook has 125 million average users (MAU), while the number of mobile MAUs stands at 114 million. On a daily basis, 59 million users in India are accessing Facebook and 53 million are accessing us from their mobile phones," he said.
Globally, Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active users as of March 31, with the US as its biggest market.