Facebook apps have created almost 236,000 jobs, according to a University of Maryland study.
Most Facebook apps may be fun, but there is another reason to like them. According to a new University of Maryland study, they are job creators. Apps designed for the world’s most prominent and popular social network’s platform have created a new industry that the study calls “the Facebook App Economy.”
Almost 183,000 new jobs have been created by U.S. businesses making Facebook apps. Researchers estimate that the Facebook App Economy has generated about $12.19 billion in wages and benefits for workers. Using more aggressive estimates, the study concludes, the Facebook App Economy has created almost 236,000 jobs, adding a value of almost $16 billion to the U.S. economy.
Launched in May 2007, Facebook enjoys more than 750 million users. More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, the study reports, while Facebook users install 20 million apps every day. More than 250 million people each month engage with the social network on external websites, a burgeoning market for developers.
Facebook is by far the most familiar social network according to a 2011 mobile technology and social media study conducted by Millionaire Corner. Nearly 60 percent of households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million are familiar with it and of these, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) are younger.
There are several components to Facebook, the study notes, and each creates jobs, which in turn “contributes value to the economy.” One is a social plugin, such as the “Like” button,” which the study observes, “creates economic value by enabling people to share their experiences online with their friends. These friends provide increased referral traffic for companies’ websites, which in turn creates value for those companies, which in turn results in hiring new employees and retaining existing ones, which in turn results in those employees making purchases and paying rent or making mortgage payments.”
Games, such as Zynga’s popular “Words with Friends,” are also driving the Facebook App Economy. For a start-up company, a popular app could lead to the hiring of additional developers who create more apps. As the company becomes more established, it will open the door for the hiring of financial managers, a clerical staff, and other positions. Zynga, also founded in 2007, now has more than 2,000 employees and an estimated valuation of $15-$20 billion.
“Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry,” Il-Horn Hann, co-author of the study, said in a statement. “As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see job growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the U.S. economy.”