Facebook Lite App: Tapping Next One Billion Users [interview for DazeInfo — repost]

Shyam Swaraj
Apr 19, 2016 · 4 min read
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Interview with Vijay Shankar, Global Product Head of FaceBook Lite

Mid last year, I had the opportunity to interview Vijay Shankar, the Global Product Manager of Facebook Lite. According to its own report of Q2 2015, of the 1,490 Million Monthly Active Users(MAUs) Facebook had, 1314 Million accessed Facebook through mobile phones.

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Some interesting facts he revealed seemed part of a well thought out plan, however seemed a bit late considering the internet usage penetration and bandwidth speeds were on the high. Then again, Facebook Lite was for the millions of new users who would be accessing Facebook on slower phones and slower connections.

Vijay Shankar, Global Product Head of FaceBook Lite answers some quick questions

Size Does Matter

“Over 875 million people across the world access Facebook over 2G. Majority of these users belong to emerging markets. We want to provide seamless experience of Facebook to all of these people on their mobile devices, just like the other hundred of million users, who are accessing Facebook current official app on high speed mobile internet.”

Device and Bandwidth Agnostic

Where All Who All

Facebook Lite started being built from Jan 2015 and tested it in countries like Africa and South East Asia and gathered feedback. After an overwhelming response form the initial trails, the app experience was perfected before officially launching it on 4th June 2015 for other countries to use.

Everyone Loves Videos

IMHO, the point here is not just that people from smaller cities watch more videos on their mobiles, it is also that probably the first computing device most of these people have access to is a mobile. More so, being used to motion pictures and films as the primary medium smaller city and rural folk have been exposed to from the TV era, video certainly becomes the primary source of information and entertainment that can be rather easily interpreted even by those who have lesser education or training.

Growth Vs User Experience — What’s More Important?

The kinds of issues that have been shared over time by users are of the app loading back as minimized, inability to tag people on photos, lack of notifications, auto scrolling, etc. apart from crashing of course. Some improvements for reliability and speed have been announced, however that seems to have had not much of an impact on the feedback.

My Experience

Inference

If you have any experiences that you would like to share, kindly write in response and educate the readers.

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