Twitter launches ‘lite’ service as it seeks growth in emerging markets

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Twitter on Thursday unveiled a new mobile web service aimed at emerging markets users with slower internet connections that minimises data usage.

Twitter Lite, which can be accessed with a browser, provides key features of the social media app known for its 140 character ‘tweets’, including timeline, direct messages, trends, profiles, media uploads and more and is said to have a 30 per cent faster launch time. Moreover, the service takes up less than 1MB on a device and boasts a data saver mode, which can help reduce data usage by as much as 70 per cent.

Jack Dorsey’s company, which is struggling to drive user growth domestically, also announced a new partnership with Vodafone — one of the largest telecom operators in India with over 200m subscribers — on Thursday, to promote Twitter Lite to its customers as a way to get live sports updates. Twitter Lite, which supports six languages spoken in India, is hoping to leverage the the nation’s obsession with cricket to drive user growth in the world’s second most populous country.

The loss-making California-based company has seen average monthly user growth level off since 2014. Its latest quarterly results showed that despite the prominence the company has received because of US President Donald Trump’s frequent Twitter usage, user growth remains sluggish.

Twitter has also ramped up efforts to curb abuse on the social media site by actively limiting functionality for accounts engaging in abusive behaviour amid concerns that hate speech including cyberbullying, racism and misogyny are pushing some people to leave the social media platform.

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