Facebook Lite is a stripped-down version of the Facebook app that was initially created for use in developing countries where slow internet connections and less powerful phones are the norm.

But now Facebook is planning to bring the app to developed countries including the US, UK and Canada.

Reuters reported that Facebook Lite will be available in those new regions starting tomorrow, but I was able to download it from the Play Store just now.

The app is already available in more than 100 countries, but soon it’ll be available in more places including Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and Ireland.

According to Reuters, the move is designed to address the fact that even in developed countries, some folks have limited access to mobile broadband. Facebook Lite is optimized to work in areas with 2G network speeds and/or unstable connections.

Among other things, the app uses less data, has a smaller installer, and takes up less storage space on a phone. It’s also designed to work on older phones and it should support pretty much any phone running Android 2.3 or later.

While all of those things are designed to help users with slow hardware or internet connections, they also mean the app will probably run faster than the full Facebook app on phones with more modern specs.

One thing I noticed right away is that Facebook Lite does not auto-play videos as you scroll, which is pretty awesome if you’re looking for a less distracting way to browse your social media feeds. I have a love/hate relationship with the usual auto-play because on the one hand I find them kind of obnoxious… and on the other I get sucked in and end up watching a lot of them, often with the sound off because they catch my eye (just like they’re supposed to).

That said, the overall user interface is so sparse that visiting m.facebook.com in a mobile browser seems to offer a more complete experience.

I’ve been using the Facebook Messenger Lite app on my phone instead of the full-fledged Messenger app for a while, and I’ve been pretty happy trading in some of the bells and whistles for a simple, speedy experience that doesn’t use a lot of system resources. But I’m not sure if I’m ready to trade in the full Facebook app for Facebook Lite just yet. It’s nice to have the option though.

 

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