Millions Of People Don't Realize Facebook Is Part Of The Internet

by Sean Levinson

About three years ago, think tank researcher Helani Galpaya took a poll in southeast Asia on Internet and Facebook use, and the results surprised her.

She was stunned to find hundreds of people, most notably in Indonesia, claimed never to use the Internet but called themselves regular Facebook users.

Her boss at the time eventually concluded these people were familiar with Facebook yet had no idea it was part of the Internet.

Christoph Stork reported similar results when he asked the same questions in Africa.

Quartz conducted its own surveys in Indonesia and Nigeria to see if the findings would be the same today.

The news outlet commissioned Geopoll to ask 500 people from both countries if they had used the Internet and Facebook within the past 30 days.

Although more Internet use was reported, 11 percent of Indonesians and 9 percent of Nigerians said they had used Facebook but not the Internet. Considering Facebook boasts a database of 1.4 billion users, these results suggest millions of people on the social network don't realize they're using the Internet.

Participants were also asked if they believe that "Facebook" and "Internet" were synonyms.

This is most likely because for many in developing countries, Facebook is the only online service they have access to.

Facebook is leading an initiative called, which seeks to give Internet access to the entire global population.

Almost half a dozen countries currently have's app, but according to Quartz, one of the only free services unrelated to jobs or health is Facebook.

Users can enter a query into Google, but they'll have to pay for their answer.

In India and the Philippines, there are low-cost plans that give users Facebook and nothing else.

Facebook's basic features are even available for free on mobile phones under Facebook Zero.

But while some say such plans may only be making people less informed by limiting their Internet exposure to a single company, others might argue that any Internet is better than none.

Citations: Millions of Facebook users have no idea theyre using the internet (Quartz)