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Facebook updated its News Feed feature on Tuesday so that content loads quickly even with weak Internet connections.
Many of Facebook's users are in emerging markets with weak 2G connections, such as India, Brazil and Mexico, where it is 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 as it has largely saturated the U.S. and western European markets.
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 connectivities 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.