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Facebook launches Instagram Lite — a stripped-down version of the app for emerging markets

Key Points
  • Facebook launched a stripped-down version of Instagram known as Instagram Lite.
  • It is aimed at emerging markets where cheaper Android phones are dominant and data plans are limited.
  • The Lite app lets you post pictures, create and watch stories that disappear after 24 hours and search for users.
The Instagram logo
Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook introduced a stripped-down version of the social photo-sharing app Instagram, aimed at users in developing markets.

Instagram Lite quietly appeared on the Google Play Store Wednesday for Android smartphones and the size of the app is just 574 kilobytes, substantially smaller than the roughly 90 megabytes required for the main Instagram app.

The Lite app lets you post pictures, create and watch stories that disappear after 24 hours, and search for users. Users currently don't have the option to message friends or share videos, but a description on Google's app store said that those functions are coming soon.

Instagram Lite is aimed at emerging markets which typically are dominated by lower cost Android devices. Users in these countries have limited data plans and that's where Lite versions of apps become important.

In 2015, Facebook launched a "Lite" version of its main app.

An Instagram spokesperson was not immediately available for comment, but told the website TechCrunch, which first spotted the news, that the app is being tested in Mexico this week.

“We are testing a new version of Instagram for Android that takes up less space on your device, uses less data, and starts faster," the spokesperson said.

Instagram crossed the one billion user mark this year, and Facebook, which owns the photo-sharing service, is looking at ways to get the next billion users on board. Fast-growing developing markets are seen as a key part of this growth.