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Twitter creates 'lite' version for data-starved users

Pic Reuters

Lite also includes numerous same features as Twitter's main offering, includes a timeline, notifications, profiles, and the ability to send tweets and direct messages.

Twitter Lite is accessible by visiting mobile.twitter.com on smartphones and tablets, and more information is available here.

Twitter is a massive platform with smartphone adoption reaching 3.8 billion at the end of 2016.

Users can reduce data usage even more by turning on data saver mode, which among other features provides a preview of images and videos to allow users to choose which ones to load fully.

The new offering also has implications for remote areas with unreliable service, and emerging markets where people may want to try out Twitter for the first time.

Twitter on Thursday introduced a speedier, more data-friendly version of its social media website to attract more users in developing markets. For the unfamiliar, the new Lite version is a Progressive Web App (PWA), built in partnership with Google.

Twitter explains the creation of Twitter Lite is a reaction to the barriers that exist around its use today, including "slow mobile networks, expensive data plans, or lack of storage on mobile devices". In India, the company partnered with telecom operator Vodafone to promote Lite app as a way to get live sports updates on Indian Premier League matches.

The app has additional PWA features if you run it on Google Chrome on Android devices. While Lite versions of applications are nothing new, Twitter is now joining the likes of YouTube Go, Facebook Lite, Skype Lite and Messenger Lite. The company claims that this can reduce your data usage by up to 70 percent.

Lite could prove useful even to those on faster 4G networks: the less data that whatever app consumes, the better it is for anyone's data budget.

Twitter now joins the likes of Facebook who released their standalone app; Facebook Lite in June 2015 recording 100 million monthly active users, less than nine months since the launch.