×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Most Americans Don’t Know That Facebook Owns Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook is facing multiple antitrust investigations at federal and state levels, probing issues including whether it has used its ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp to anticompetitive advantage.

But the majority of regular Americans aren’t actually aware that the social giant owns both Instagram and WhatsApp.

That’s according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, which found that only 29% of Americans correctly named Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp as owned by Facebook. Another factoid from the study: Shown a photo of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, only 15% of U.S. adults were able to correctly identify him.

Digital literacy of U.S. adults varies widely depending on the subject and the individuals education, per Pew’s study. On certain topics, Americans overall are relatively knowledgable: For example, 67% of U.S. adults know that phishing scams can occur across multiple platforms, including via email, text messages, social media or websites; and 63% of those surveyed understand that cookies let websites track users’ site visits and activities.

In addition, 59% said they understand that advertising is the largest source of revenue for most social media companies. Meanwhile, 48% of U.S. adults correctly answered that a privacy policy is a contract among websites and users governing how their data will be used, while 45% know that net neutrality refers to the principle that internet service providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally. Only 30% correctly answered that a URL that starts with “https://” means that the information entered on that site is encrypted.

Popular on Variety

Other findings from Pew’s study: 24% of Americans know that private browsing only hides browser history from other users of that computer, while about half of adults (49%) say they are unsure what private browsing does.

According to the Pew study, U.S. adults’ knowledge of digital topics varies significantly based on their level of education. Those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree answered a median of six out of 10 questions correctly, compared with four by those who have attended college but have not obtained a degree and three by those with a high school diploma or less.

Americans’ digital knowledge also varies by age, though these gaps “are less pronounced than for education level,” according to Pew. For example, adults 18-29 correctly answered a median of five out of 10 questions, compared with a median of three of 10 among those ages 65 and older.

Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank, conducted the survey of 4,272 adults from June 3-17, 2019. It said the margin of sampling error in the survey is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

More Digital

  • IRM_DAY032_110117_0719538.raf

    'The Irishman' Was Watched by 26 Million Households in First Week, Netflix Says

    Netflix has dribbled out some viewing data on Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman”: The epically long mobster film was watched by 26.4 million Netflix households worldwide in the first seven days — to at least 70% completion, according to content chief Ted Sarandos. In the first 28 days, Netflix expects about 40 million account holders to [...]

  • United States Attorney for the Southern

    'Jeffrey Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself' Is Peak Meme After Art Basel Prank 

    From Bye, Felicia to The Dress, memes have provided the ideal discursive forum for our ever dwindling attention spans. On this side of the century, most memes have been byte-sized digital novelties that fizzle away without manifesting in the meatspace. But as the gap between URL and IRL draws closer, memes are spilling into real [...]

  • History peter sagal curiosity stream

    Curiosity Stream Grows Subscriber Base to More Than 10 Million

    In five years’ time, cable pioneer John Hendricks has assembled a subscriber base of more than 10.5 million for Curiosity Stream, the niche factual programming streaming service that has been successful in getting picked up by cable operators in the U.S. and abroad. Hendricks, the founder of Discovery Channel, and Curiosity Stream president-CEO Clint Stinchcomb, [...]

  • portal tv

    Facebook's Portal TV Gets Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNow, Sling TV, Deezer

    Facebook is bringing additional media services to its Portal TV device: Portal owners got access to subscription video content Amazon’s Prime Video service and Sling TV Tuesday. Portal now also offers access to FandangoNow’s on-demand movies and TV shows, and Deezer’s music subscription service. Facebook launched Portal TV in September; the TV-attached streaming device with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content