Facebook has finally rolled out Messenger Lite for Android in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland, with the app now available through the Google Play Store.
Messenger Lite was previously only available in developing countries, but Facebook apparently decided that it will also be useful in the United States.
What Is Facebook Messenger Lite?
Facebook initially rolled out Messenger Lite for Android exactly a year ago, as an app that specifically targets users with low bandwidth connections and older smartphones. The app was first released in Kenya, Malaysia, Tunisia, Venezuela, and Sri Lanka, and was later expanded to more than 100 developing countries.
"Messenger Lite is a slimmed-down version of Messenger that offers the core features of the app, while giving everyone the opportunity to stay connected to their friends and family, regardless of device or quality of internet connectivity," said a spokesperson for Facebook.
Messenger Lite does not support video calls, Messenger Day, selfie lenses, games, and other features that are not critical to the purpose of the app, which is to enable basic communication between users. In addition to text messages, Messenger Lite still allows stickers and sending pictures and links, and carries the same design as Messenger.
The app is available on the Google Play Store, and it is compatible with Android devices that are running on as low as Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
Why Use Facebook Messenger Lite?
The mobile networks in the United States are far better compared to those in some developing countries, so why did Facebook decide to launch Messenger Lite here?
Messenger Lite will be a valuable tool for users who want to keep their data usage low, as Messenger sheds data-hungry features that can be found in other messaging apps such as Snapchat. There may also be some users who prefer a barebones version of Messenger, as it looks less cluttered and simpler to use.
Unfortunately, Facebook has not revealed any plans for an iOS version of Messenger Lite, whether only for developing countries or also for the United States. Messenger and Messenger Lite work best when everybody is on the platform, so the company should work to bring the stripped-down app to the iOS.
Facebook In The News
The launch of the Messenger Lite app in the United States, however, is a short reprieve from the issue that Facebook is handling right now.
It has been previously reported that a Russian troll farm spent $100,000 on Facebook advertisements to sway the mindset of the public during the 2016 presidential elections. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since apologized that the social network caused a massive political divide in the country.