The Facebook effect hits the job market

jobsA new study from the University of Maryland says that Facebook’s “app economy” is responsible for some 182,000 US jobs and has put somewhere between $12.19 billion and $15.71 billion in wages and benefits into our economy this past year.

“Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry. As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see job growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the US economy,” Il-Horn Hann, co-director of the university’s Smith’s Center for Digital Innovation.

And it’s a cyclical process, one that will spur further jobs creation across various markets. “The jobs created in the app economy stimulate the creation of additional jobs in other sectors of the US economy,” Hann says. “First jobs are created at businesses that supply app developers. Second jobs are created as a result of household spending based on the income earned by employees at both app developer and businesses supplying app developers.”

The news comes just as Facebook is set to begin its annual f8 developers conference, which is turning out to sound like it will reveal quite a few new additions to the site–and give developers even more opportunity. But before you drop that business major or quit your 9-5 job, the numbers deserve a second look. Conclusions were found by assessing how many app development companies there are as well as the average number of users who access these Facebook apps daily. This, the report claims, is enough to approximate how many people are working for third-party developers.

If that sounds iffy enough to you, then you probably won’t get on board with researchers’ other estimations, including the “multiplier effect.” This is the method used to determine that ripple effect the app economy has had. Employing a bit of skepticism over the report’s numbers and accounting methods is wise to say that least. Companies definitely have something to gain by promoting their platforms, making them more attractive to potential talent. Facebook and many of its competitors–namely, Google–have spent some serious cash lobbying the US government. Being a contributor to the struggling jobs market no doubt helps them in this department.

At the same time, no one can question the changing state of our jobs economy and the impact Internet companies–Facebook included–is having on that. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this summer that Facebook feels like it’s hit its stride connecting people via its network, and now it wants to build and integrate applications on top of that to enhance it, which is where developers step in.

And when you talk about job creation, you should think about elimination as well. There are a number of college majors and employment positions that have become obsolete since Facebook launched in 2004. While we can’t say for certain these are tied to Facebook’s debut, the site has had a huge effect on our socio–and some would argue economic culture. And no, we can’t begin to say we can find how many positions have been lost–and that’s why we’re a little cynical when someone says they can determine how many have been found.

There’s a new job sector that didn’t exist before Facebook’s arrival, and for that our economy can be thankful. Whether it can be 182,000 jobs thankful, however, we’re not so sure. 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Ditch the backdrop from your photos with these handy tools

Need to know how to remove the background from an image? Here's how, whether you prefer to use a premium program like Photoshop or one of the many web-based alternatives currently in existence.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.