Facebook Introduces Messenger Lite, Targeting Emerging Markets

Facebook has introduced a stripped down version of its Messenger app on October 2, 2016. It’s called Messenger Lite. It is aimed at emerging economies with large populations that have phones with low processing power, very limited storage and slow internet speeds. The app was announced in a post on Facebook by David Marcus, head of messaging products. The app is currently just available on the Android OS since there is very little probability of a low end variation of the iPhone that is still in large use and can’t handle the Facebook Messenger app. Plus, since Android is Open Source, it is run on so many local brands around the world that releasing a bare bones app on the OS first is a sound business investment.

The Messenger Lite app has been launched in Venezuela, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Tunisia. It’s a continuation of the Facebook Lite app that came before it. It’s built to handle low internet speeds, very light data demand and won’t have many of the features present in Messenger like the wide variety of stickers and emojis (though some are present), the Chat bots and the Stories feature.

The Messenger Lite app logo is almost the same as its big brother but with the colour scheme inverted (The speech bubble is white instead of blue and the background and lightning bolt are blue). The app size is 10 MB and so is quick to install and startup.

Facebook’s Endeavour For Universal Acceptance

In all that Facebook has done to widen its appeal, there is a little whiff of desperation, perhaps more. It’s the most popular social network in the world with over 1.71 billion monthly users and yet, it constantly looks to buy emerging companies that appeal to a certain demographic. And it introduces products just like it in case it is unsuccessful in the purchase. Look at how it bought Instagram fr $1 billion and WhatsApp for $19 billion. Then when it couldn’t get Snapchat, the company introduced Stories on Instagram and then it introduced “Lifestage” (basically Snapchat for high schoolers). Just this week it introduced a feature called “Messenger Day” in the Messenger App in Poland. The feature is basically Snapchat with some innovations like filters and emojis.

Then of course there’s Facebook’s aggressive promotion of video (especially 360-degree video) on its platform which, in some cases, has managed to outperform YouTube (case in point the view count on the SNL parody of the first presidential debate being higher on Facebook than on YouTube). Facebook has also made it possible for some companies to tag their products in videos, photos and posts and just today, it unveiled a feature called Marketplace to compete with the likes of Ebay and Craigslist.

You could call this innovation but Facebook is really trying to keep users from EVER leaving the social network. That’s the definition of clingy and needy.