Facebook Inc has updated its News Feed feature so that content loads quickly even with weak Internet connections. In emerging markets of Facebook like India, Mexico and Brazil, people with 2G connections find it difficult to load pictures and videos that use more data.
The update is part of an effort by Facebook to get more users in these countries. The Facebook app is able to select articles, pictures and videos to load based on the strength of users’ connections. If they have weak connectivity, News Feed will select content that is easier and faster to load, such as text articles or posts.
Facebook employees in India reported slow connectivity that often made the app frustrating to use, said Tom Alison, Facebook’s director of engineering. The company then sent a team to India, dedicated to delivering a faster News Feed experience in areas with weak connections.
“News Feed is a product you tend to want to check regularly throughout the day, and that’s not possible when it’s slow to load,” Alison said.
As part of the update, News Feed can also pull up stories even when there is no connection — such as on a subway — by recalling articles and content that were loaded on a previous Facebook visit but were never clicked on.