More than half the world’s internet users have Facebook

He’s one of them.
He’s one of them.
Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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Facebook is slowly becoming the internet.

The social network announced as part of its third-quarter earnings Nov. 2 that 1.79 billion people now access Facebook in some capacity every month—16% more than this time last year.

According to the internet-monitoring website Internet Live Stats, there are an estimated 3.42 billion internet users around the world, as of July 2016. The simple math shows roughly 52% of the entire global internet-using population has a Facebook account that they check (at least) monthly.

As far back as July 2015, news outlets were reporting that about half of the world’s internet users had Facebook accounts. But now active Facebook users have jumped over that 50% mark.

The number of internet users is growing every day, thanks to increased access to affordable smartphones and initiatives to spread connectivity to traditionally hard-to-reach places. Even Facebook, in its bid to get that remaining 48% of internet users, is trying to bring the internet to remote locations using massive, autonomous, solar-powered drones that first took flight this summer.

And for millions around the world, there is no delineation between “the internet” and Facebook, thanks to the company’s connectivity efforts in developing nations. As Facebook continues to grow around the world, and rake in billions in advertising revenue on its users’ data, it’s worth considering what it really means that millions rely on a single website for news and information (even when it’s fake), staying in touch with friends and family, and potentially as the only access point to the internet itself.