Facebook’s Messenger Lite instant messaging (IM) app is now available in 132 new countries, the company’s Vice President of Messaging Products David Marcus revealed in a Facebook post on Thursday. The firm’s executive initially claimed that the IM service rolled out to 150 more countries, but that number was amended soon after the original announcement. While Marcus didn’t name all of the new countries in which the Messenger Lite app is now available, that list includes Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Colombia, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria, Taiwan, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands, Facebook’s official said.
The newly expanded availability of Messenger Lite indicates that the Menlo Park-based social media giant isn’t only interested in promoting its IM app in emerging markets anymore, which the company said was its original intention when the service was officially launched last October. Back then, the firm said its lightweight version of Messenger is aimed at users in developing countries, many of whom don’t have access to high-end devices and quick and reliable Internet connections, but the launch of the app in countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Japan indicates that the company’s product strategy has shifted and Facebook is now looking to promote its communications tool in many more markets around the globe.
As part of the latest announcement related to Messenger Lite, Marcus reiterated that Facebook’s IM service is currently used by more than 1.2 billion people on a monthly basis, which makes it the definitive leader on the market alongside its sister service WhatsApp. While the lightweight version of Messenger was primarily designed for entry-level Android devices and people who want or need to be conservative about their data usage, the app is also enjoying a positive response from some consumers that dislike the new user experience of the main Messenger app that has slowly been transitioning to a standalone social platform in recent years. Facebook’s efforts to turn Messenger into an independent ecosystem are directly tied to its ambitions to better monetize its communications service, meaning that the company will likely continue introducing new features that are aimed at transforming the app into a social network of its own, making Messenger Lite a solid alternative for users who don’t want to leave Messenger but also prefer a more streamlined communications solution.