Facebook eyes big expansion into the developing world by buying up Snaptu


Facebook could be coming to the mobile phones of hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries as the social network moves into the feature phone market. Facebook bought out start-up app makers Snaptu today in a move that signals their intention to make mobile Facebook work for people without fancy smartphones.

Currently it’s mostly smartphone owners who access Facebook on their phones – because there are specially designed apps that work with their user interfaces. But for the 95% of people without an Android, iPhone or Blackberry, accessing Facebook on their phones can be frustrating and fiddly even though they have internet access.

Snaptu specialise in making that experience cleaner and better.

The biggest impact will be felt in the developing world where users tend not to own either smartphones or their own PCs. Many of these people would be able to use Facebook for the first time if it were compatible with their mobile phones.

But it will also bring Facebook on mobile to teenagers and kids with middling phones and older people who don’t want to shell out for expensive contracts on the big devices.

More on Snaptu & Facebook on the Snaptu blog

Anna Leach