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Facebook (FB) Brings Messenger Lite, Eyes Emerging Nations

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Facebook, Inc. (FB - Free Report) recently unveiled a trimmed version of its Messenger app that requires significantly less data but operates faster. The new app called ‘Messenger Lite’ is already available for Android devices in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.

The new app is especially meant for users in emerging nations with “slower than average internet speeds and a prevalence of basic Android smartphones” per the company. Facebook however has not given any indication to roll out this app for iOS users.

Much like ‘Facebook Lite’, the stripped down version of the Facebook app, Messenger Lite is also designed for users with poor network speed and limited storage. The new app will occupy less than 10 MB space in Android phones (less than 25% of the main app) and offer key features of the platform like sending texts, photos, links and stickers. However, the app will not likely support tools like video calls, chatbots or stories, which require higher data consumption.

Messenger is one of the most important platforms for Facebook to drive growth but it is yet to be monetized. CEO Mark Zuckerberg had earlier commented "Messenger is going to be the next big platform for sharing privately."

In Jul 2016, Messenger hit the 1 billion user mark. Despite such a large user base, the Messenger app is used by only about 9% people in the Asia-Pacific region, per media reports. This leaves huge scope for expansion.

Apps like ‘Messenger Lite’ and ‘Facebook Lite’ may give Facebook an edge over peers like Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) and Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , all striving to expand their user base in emerging nations.

Currently, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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