Many People, Including Indonesians, Still Consider Facebook as More Popular than Internet

1 min read
February 11, 2015

People need internet to access facebook, that’s the basic law that we know. Interestingly, some, or I may say, many, people still perceive Facebook and internet are two different things. Based on Helani Galpaya’s research in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand, numerous respondents stated that they weren’t internet users; they were Facebook users.

Galpaya, current LIRNEAsia’s CEO, found out an ugly truth that a number of Indonesian respondents claimed that they routinely accessed Facebook but refused to state that they use internet connection. They did have the connection, but only use it to access Facebook. “They perceived that internet doesn’t exist, while Facebook does,” she claimed.

This anomaly encouraged Quartz and GeoPoll to conduct similar research in Indonesia and Nigeria. With 500 respondents in each country, Quartz discovered that 11% of respondents in Indonesia, or 326 Facebook users, stated that they only accessed Facebook, not the internet. In Nigeria, the number was smaller, only 9%.

Last January, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, voiced her opinion about developing countries by saying, “People will enter phone stores and say ‘I want to access Facebook.’ In some places, people have difficulties in defining Facebook and internet.”

Facebook’s Head of Localization and Internationalization Iris Orriss added, “The awareness of people towards Internet usage in developing countries is considerably limited. In fact, to many users, Facebook is internet, as it is the only app they access.”

It’s crystal clear that so many people around the world spend their time on Facebook. Thus, for regulators, entrepreneurs, startups, developers, non-profit organizations, publishers, and those who want to reach and communicate with society, making use of Facebook as their media of mass communication is a must.

However, having our communication strategy being done through Facebook doesn’t guarantee our success. Don’t forget that many users are reluctant to click links that we post on Facebook.

The survey revealed that of those who admitted that they never click links on Facebook, 56% of them were those who stated that they accessed Facebook without going for the internet. Only 25% of them were internet users.

(Read: Talking About Facebook and Twitter’s Revenue in Indonesia)

With around 69 mill active users last year, Facebook is th emost popular internet service in Indonesia. To educate people about the fact that internet is not solely Facebook is something which is highly fundamental to be done.

Rohan Samarajiva of LIRNEAsia commented, “This has serious implication. This (Facebook) is a proprietary platform. Not the open internet we prefer and respect. (Even so) Facebook would probably introduce them to a bigger concept about internet. They are in the internet. They just don’t know yet that they’ve been there.”

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