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Richard Drew / AP

To make it easier for users in emerging markets, Twitter has a created a leaner version of its service that consumes less data and works more smoothly on slower mobile networks.

Why it matters: While there are now more than 3.8 billion smartphones connected to the Internet worldwide, 45% of them are still on the slower 2G network (the U.S., for context, is gearing up for 5G). This is why other major services, like Facebook, have also built alternatives for emerging markets that use much less data.

Tech specs: Users can access Twitter Lite via mobile.twitter.com on any browser on their mobile device, and it less than 1MB. There's also a data saver mode, which previews photos and videos instead of automatically loading them, which Twitter says can reduce usage by up to 70%. And there are push notifications and an offline mode.

India push: Twitter has inked a deal with Vodafone in India, which has more than 200 million subscribers in the country, to promote the service as a way to get real-time updates during the upcoming cricket season. Twitter has created a special feature for these live updates for subscribers.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"