Facebook Lite, launched in June 2015 for Android users in emerging markets, hit 100 million monthly active users, being most popular in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines.
The company said the app, with an APK (Android application package) of less than 1MB, is “the fastest-growing version of Facebook to reach 100 million users in under nine months”.
It now supports 56 languages.
Gautam Roy, software engineer at Facebook, said “our goal is to provide the best possible Facebook experience to everyone, no matter their device or connection”.
He shared details about how the app is built with hopes that “we can encourage more people to build for the next billion coming online”.
For instance, he said the Lite APK doesn’t have the product code and resources found in a typical Android app, and the Lite architecture is designed to let the server side do the heavy lifting, which enables the app to work well on very low-powered devices, like the LG Optimus ME.
He also said the Lite app controls the size of the images to be able to control the amount of data used.
The team also made sure Lite worked well on very low-powered devices that can still be found in emerging markets, including “a 2009 year class device like the Samsung Galaxy Y with very restrictive specs”. It works with Android Gingerbread, to support older smartphones.
“These design choices help Facebook Lite achieve best-in-class performance metrics on interactions like login, start-up time, pull-to-refresh, and image-loading times on low-bandwidth intermittent networks,” he said.