The worldwide population is approximately 7.785 billion. After years of rapid growth, it is expected to slow. In the short term, that is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, much of it can be attributed to the aging population in many countries, as well as the fact that in some nations where people had large families, the trend has changed and families want to have fewer children.
While no one has a firm number of how many people do not have access to the internet, the number is clearly in the hundreds of millions, if not low billions. Much of Africa is not wired, and many places do not have wireless signals. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, says he is about to change that. A system of low orbiting satellites called Starlink has been launched that will bring broadband internet to much of the world.
The largest single destination on the internet is probably Facebook, the world’s most widely used social medium. It has 2.85 billion members. That is more people than the combined populations of China and India, the two most populous countries in the world.
One of the extraordinary things about Facebook is that it did not exist until 2004, or 17 years ago, when co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg founded it at Harvard. It is the kind of success story almost no company in the world can match, with the possible exceptions of Google, Microsoft and Apple.
Facebook’s reach goes beyond its original service. It also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook’s greatest challenge is the growing opinion among governments, particularly in Europe and the United States, that it holds a monopoly in the social media industry. The fact that its popularity continues to increase makes those antitrust officials in some countries even more aggressive, which means that Facebook’s primary enemy may not be another company at all.
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