On Tuesday night, a number of Facebook users received notifications that they were beta testers for something called “Facebook Lite.”
The notifications, as well as the site hosted on lite.facebook.com, disappeared within minutes. It seems to have been rolled out prematurely by mistake.
“Last night, the test was temporarily exposed to a larger set of users by mistake,” an e-mailed statement from Facebook representative Brandee Barker read. “We have not opened up access to lite.facebook.com to all users at this time. People who are not part of the test and are trying to access ‘Lite’ will be directed to Facebook.com as usual.
From what it looks like, Facebook Lite is a simpler version of the site and pares down profiles to basic information and a stream of status updates. The easy conclusion is that this would make Facebook’s service look a whole lot like Twitter. And given the fact that Facebook had attempted to acquire Twitter, got snubbed, and then acquired the significantly smaller real-time streaming site FriendFeed this week, a Twitter-like service would be rife with implications.
Here’s Facebook’s official explanation: “We are currently testing a simplified alternative to Facebook.com that loads a specific set of features quickly and efficiently. Similar to the Facebook experience you get on your mobile phones, Facebook ‘Lite’ is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept friend requests, write on people’s walls, and look at photos and status updates.”