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Facebook turns off its 'Lite'

The stripped-down version was designed as a test for use in new markets where a "more simple experience" would be ideal, but has now been nixed.

There was a lot of chatter about "Facebook Lite," a stripped-down version of the social network's profiles and home page, when it stumbled out of the gate last summer and was widely interpreted as a hit on Twitter. Facebook pitched it as a test for "countries where we are seeing lots of new users coming to Facebook for the first time and are looking to start off with a more simple experience."

Facebook confirmed Tuesday on its official "fan page" that it's ending the Facebook Lite project. "We're no longer supporting it, but learned a lot from the test of a slimmed-down site," a short message read. "If you used Lite, you'll now be taken to the main site."

There's been no further explanation. Perhaps usage of Lite was lower than expected in those test markets, or perhaps usage of Lite was higher than expected, deflecting attention from the third-party apps, heavier advertisements, and other features that were pared-down or absent--and yet are the ones that boost Facebook's revenue.

The company has never been hesitant to do away with unpopular or defective features, axing the likes of its maligned Beacon advertising program, a "polls" product that may be turned into a Q&A feature soon, and its classified ads system.

Meanwhile, it's been announcing some more complex new features in advance of its F8 developer conference--like Community Pages, which are user-edited discussion hubs that look to be in the same vein as Wikipedia.