In case you still had any doubts about how influential Facebook is, consider this: Facebook’s app is now the third-most popular browser in the United States, according to new data.
The study, from analytics company Mixpanel, shows that Facebook’s mobile app is the now one of the top mobile browsers in the U.S., accounting for 7.63 percent of mobile browser traffic in the country.
In some states, though, that number is even higher. In Washington and Rhode Island, Facebook accounts for more than 13 percent of traffic, according to Mixpanel. To put that in perspective, Google’s Chrome browser accounts for 33 percent of traffic nationally while Apple’s Safari gets the top spot with 58.39 percent of traffic.
That Facebook comes in at a (relatively distant) third place may not seem like a huge deal on its face. We’ve long known that Facebook’s News Feed is one of the biggest traffic sourcesfor publishers of all stripes. But Facebook isn’t in business of running a browser. Though its app has long had an in-app browser, it’s a means to an end — a way for Facebook to distribute content more efficiently.
So the fact that the social network, and its rudimentary in-app browser, accounts for such a large amount of traffic, only highlights just how dominant it’s become as an information source. Particularly for a company that’s supposedly tweaking its News Feed algorithm to emphasize less news and content from brands and publishers. The fact is, Facebook remains massively influential, regardless of privacy scandals or News Feed changes.