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Facebook makes a better News Feed for slow connections

Facebook has well over a billion users, but it's not stopping there: It wants all those users — with wildly different hardware — to have an experience that keeps them coming back.

That's why it built an entirely new mobile News Feed designed to work with the 2G cellular connections that are common in developing countries. Facebook announced this new News Feed in a blog post.

The Facebook app we enjoy in the U.S. is great, but it requires a fairly robust cellular data connection or Wi-Fi to work. With LTE, that's not a problem, but for those in emerging markets where only 2G connections are available, it's often too heavy.

To solve this, Facebook developed an open-source "Network Connection Class" that can determine the connection strength and tailor the News Feed accordingly.

For example, users on a slower connection will be served more text statuses and links than videos. The News Feed will also load additional stories while the user stops scrolling to read a friend's status.

Facebook will also save previously downloaded content to user's phones, so if there's no Internet connection at all, users can still scroll through previously downloaded status updates. 

Hitting 1 billion users in a 24-hour period for the first time this summer, Facebook is handily one of the most visited sites worldwide, but it knows next billion doesn't enjoy the advanced tech of its first billion. That's why it has an Emerging Markets team to develop software like this.

Facebook is making a big push towards bringing the Internet to everyone with its program, with a recent highlight being a recently announced program to bring free Internet to sub-Saharan Africa via satellite.

It also released a lighter version of its mobile app earlier this year.

If Facebook really wants to take over the world, it needs to meet it halfway.