Difference Between Mobile Facebook & Facebook

By Ellis Davidson

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, talking about using the site on mobile devices.
i Kimberly White/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Facebook debuted as a website designed for desktop computers, but is increasingly accessed from mobile devices. For these users, Facebook provides both a mobile-optimized Web site as well as dedicated applications that directly access the site. Mobile Facebook is substantially different from its desktop counterpart.

Desktop and Mobile Facebook

In a traditional Web browser, Facebook uses a three-column layout that displays the primary content in the center column, with navigation and advertisements in sidebars on the left and right sides of the window. Mobile Facebook does not have as much screen real estate to work with, so it displays only the main content, filling up the entire mobile window. This provides a streamlined view of Facebook for people who only wish to check status updates, but omits a great deal of content available on the desktop.

Facebook Apps

Facebook can be reached from a mobile Web browser or from a dedicated Facebook app. Their appearances are very similar, but the Facebook app is generally faster and more responsive to user taps. Facebook also provides ancillary applications that connect to specific Facebook services, such as the Messenger app that enables IM and longer messaging. On desktop Facebook, these features appear in pop-up windows on the edge of the overall interface.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook is an advertising-supported service that is free to users. Advertisements are liberally displayed in desktop sidebars, but are mostly removed from the mobile interface. However, Facebook allows advertisers to purchase premium status updates that are pushed to both mobile and desktop Facebook users. These updates appear as part of the main content.

Effective Facebook Use

Facebook provides a large amount of information which many users have difficulty keeping up with; for these people, mobile Facebook can be extremely useful as it is fast to load and update, and cuts out much of the extraneous content of the desktop site. Facebook gamers may be disappointed, as Facebook apps will not work in mobile browsers; on the other hand, people looking to spend less time on Facebook may appreciate the absence of temptation. Advertisers who wish to reach Facebook users should consider whether they need to be part of a mobile experience, as that will determine the type of presence they purchase on Facebook.