As it turns out, “millions” of Facebook users were not aware that they are using the Internet to access the service. Apparently, to them, the Internet did not exist, and Facebook is viewed independently of it. If this sounds ridiculous, you’d be surprised at the other misconceptions that these people have.
This strange phenomenon was first noticed by several researchers who have found that the number of Facebook users were much higher than those who uses the Internet. What seemed like an error at first was actually caused by the Facebook users’ misconception of the Internet.
According to the source, many people in developing countries confuse Facebook and the Internet. Iris Orriss, the Director of Internationalisation and Localisation at Facebook, puts it best:
Awareness of the Internet in developing countries is very limited. In fact, for many users, Facebook is the internet, as it’s often the only accessible application.
This is probably why “millions” of people confuse Facebook and the Internet, as these studies were mostly done in selected developing countries. It’s not exactly accurate to apply these findings to the whole population of Facebook users. In order to further strengthen the results, more large-scale studies have to be conducted, especially in developed countries.
If you would like to get a more detailed look at the studies, you can do so here. It sure is surprising how Facebook has managed to set itself apart from the Internet; or at least, in developing countries.