Millions Unaware that Facebook is on the Internet
Ashley Allen / 5 years ago
Millions of Facebook users across the globe seem unaware that their favourite social network is on the internet. Researcher Helani Galpaya first noticed the discrepancy three years ago, examining focus group data she’d collected that showed that more people claimed to use Facebook than they did the internet.
Galpaya spoke to Indonesians who claimed not to be regular internet users, but then waxed lyrical about Facebook and the great amount of time they spend using it. She reported her findings to her boss at the time, Rohan Samarajiva, at think tank LIRNEasia. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” Samarajiva remarked.
Even Sheryl Sandberg Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, acknowledges that there are Facebook users around the world that seem unaware that they are using the internet, saying, “People will walk into phone stores and say ‘I want Facebook.’ People actually confuse Facebook and the internet in some places.” The trend has been noticed accross Asia and parts of Africa, too.
The trend seems to be driven by Facebook as an entry point in emerging markets – users are buying smartphones and netbooks to access Facebook , but not necessarily the internet. “Facebook” and “the internet” become separate entities to these new users.