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Facebook Zero: Text-only site for bandwidth-shy mobile users

Facebook is to launch a stripped-down version of the site that could potentially boost user numbers and generate extra dosh for mobile operators

At Mobile World Congress, Facebook let slip about a new stripped-down version of the site, aimed at mobile-phone users, that will display text only.

Facebook Zero, which will launch fully in the coming weeks, will enable mobile users with almost non-existent bandwidth to access the social-networking site. But it's not just about letting Mongolian camel herders arrange a Friday night shindig on the desert steppe. 

With Facebook claiming 100m mobile users already -- a quarter of everyone who uses the site -- Facebook Zero may help Mark Zuckerberg and his minions sign up even more. Carriers could offer the site to their users for free and then, when those users crave a more media-rich Facebook hit and want to upgrade to Facebook Mobile, make them pay for data services. That way Facebook gets more exposure and carriers earn more filthy lucre.

If you visit Facebook Zero currently, you'll be told that no carriers currently support the site, although we reckon that won't last long. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.