Facebook unveils 'zero' charge mobile version

0.facebook.com logo

Facebook has unveiled a mobile version of its site to let users access the social network more quickly and without data charges.

Awkwardly called "0.facebook.com," the site is essentially a cut-down version of the mobile Facebook site, which should draw comparisons to Facebook Lite, the stripped down web version which was recently shut down by the company.

Sid Murlidhar, Facebook Mobile programme manager, said social networking and mobile internet were two hot areas of growth, with Facebook at the centre of both. However, he claimed many people find accessing the web over phones is too slow, and that data plans are confusing or too expensive.

"We have designed 0.facebook.com to help solve these two barriers and we hope that even more people will discover the mobile internet with Facebook as a result," he noted in a blog post.

0.facebook.com screenshot

While the site is cut down and effectively text only, it's not free because of its tiny data footprint, but through deals with mobile operators.

"Thanks to the help of mobile operators we collaborated with, people can access 0.facebook.com without any data charges. Using 0.facebook.com is completely free," said Murlidhar. "People will only pay for data charges when they view photos or when they leave 0.facebook.com to browse other mobile sites."

The 0.facebook.com version will initially only be available via select mobile operators in 45 countries. The UK will "soon" be added via operator 3.