Despite a slumping economy that created zero jobs in August, the online world is booming with activity.
A recent study by the University of Maryland found that Facebook app developers have added at least 182,000 jobs to the economy, contributing nearly $12.19 billion in wages and benefits in the process.
And those are conservative estimates. The “more aggressive” numbers place the Facebook job creation engine at 235,644 jobs, valued at $15.71 billion.
“Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry,” said Il-Horn Hann, one of the authors of the study “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.”
Notably, the white paper from the Robert H. Smith School of Business lauded Facebook not for directly creating these jobs, but for using the social network as a platform for sharing content.
Facebook Platform, launched in 2007, fostered not just the growth of companies like Zygna (known for Farmville and Words with Friends) and the creation of socially-integrated tools, but more subtle changes to Facebook itself: comments, the activity feed and the “like” button. (RELATED: Sikorsky Aircraft’s worldwide layoffs target unionized Connecticut workers)
Significantly, the Platform is open and exists outside of Facebook. Anyone can develop an app to be shared over Facebook, and hire developers if their app becomes popular.
The creation of apps alone has directly led to the creation of 53,000 jobs, according to the study.