Facebook has launched a slimmed-down version of its popular Messenger app in an effort to appeal to users in countries with less-than-stellar internet access. Called Messenger Lite, it gives users the ability to send text, photos, and links to anyone using Facebook Messenger in spite of “slower than average internet speeds and a prevalence of basic Android smartphones.”
The newest app in Facebook’s arsenal has begun rolling out to users in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela. Additional countries will be added in the coming months.
With more than 1 billion people using Messenger, Facebook knows that its communication app has become indispensable for many users. But it can be a pain for those with costly data plans and poor internet.
Facebook believes that with a file size of under 10MB, the app will be fast to install and start up. Users will be able to message one another, send and receive photos and links, and receive stickers. However, there’s no mention of leveraging other capabilities of the Facebook Messenger platform at this time.
This isn’t the first “lite” app version the social networking company has released. Its core app is also available in a stripped-down version that even includes translations. As Facebook seeks to bring on board the next 5 billion users, it’s going to need to capitalize on developing countries, where it will likely face stiff competition — in 2015, Line launched its “lite” version globally, and WeChat has a similar version, as well.