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Millions say they use Facebook, but not Internet

Millions of Facebook members in emerging market countries profess to using the social network but not the Internet. The distinction made by patches of the global population could hold far-ranging implications for Facebook and the greater Web economy, Quartz reported.

The report pointed to a survey from think tank LIRNEasia where more respondents said they used Facebook than the Internet in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. In a separate Quartz survey, 11 percent of Indonesians and 9 percent of Nigerians answered that they were active on Facebook but didn't use the Internet.

A Muslim woman uses her phone before the start of an evening mass prayer session in Indonesia.
Yusuf Ahmad | Reuters
A Muslim woman uses her phone before the start of an evening mass prayer session in Indonesia.

Some critics have expressed concerns that businesses, non-profits, governments or other organizations courting areas reliant on Facebook will have to communicate through the social network rather than on the open Internet, Quartz reported. Detractors say that to reach large patches of the world, third parties would have to "play by the rules of one company."

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The report cited the case of a government-subsidized housing manager in northern England that received 90 percent more feedback after it decided to accept complaints and rent payments on Facebook in addition to its own site.

Facebook has supported initiatives to make Internet, and in turn Facebook, more easily accessible around the globe, Quartz wrote. It has put its weight behind internet.org, an organization that looks to "bring the internet to the two thirds of the world's population that doesn't have it." Facebook and its messenger service are among the centerpiece offerings on internet.org's app.

Additionally, users can purchase Facebook-only data plans in India and the Philippines for fractions of the cost of full data plans, Quartz wrote.

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Others have argued that Facebook offerings could simply bridge the gap between no Internet and open Internet rather than restrict users to the social media platform, Quartz said.

Read the full Quartz report here.