Facebook Claims It Boosted World Economy by $220 Billion

Electronic cables are silhouetted next to the logo of Facebook in this September 23, 2014 illustration photo in Sarajevo. Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Facebook, which currently has 1.35 billion users – 2,000 times the size of the UK population – contributed over $227 billion to the world economy last year and helped to create 4.5 million jobs, according to a report by the consultancy firm Deloitte.

The study, which was commissioned by Facebook, analyses all the economic activity that is generated from marketing on the social media site, as well from mobile apps and games that consumers play. Sales made from advertisements on Facebook for example can be credited to Facebook directly.

The ice bucket challenge, which was created to promote awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, was spread via social media in summer 2014 and is a good demonstration of how Facebook has accelerated funding for charity.

Between July and August last year, the ALS association received $98.2 million compared to $2.7 million the previous year, and the report suggests that much of this was raised from the 2.4 million videos of the challenge posted on Facebook.

The lion share Facebook's economic contribution was generated in the United States, where the site has an economic impact of $100 billion and supported almost 1.1 million jobs, followed by the UK with $11 billion and then Brazil with $10 billion.

Speaking to Reuters on Friday, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: "People believe that technology creates jobs in the tech sector and destroys jobs everywhere else. This report shows that's not true."

According to Sandberg, Facebook has been particularly beneficial for small businesses since it has expanded its advertising of small and medium enterprises. "Across the world there is a greater urgency about creating jobs. The good news is that the tech industry is powering the economy and creating jobs within and beyond its own campuses. Every day, businesses of all sizes, sectors, and skill sets are using the Facebook platform to grow and expand," Sandberg said.

Sandberg is set to travel to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week and will be meeting with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Microsoft's 'chief executive Satya Nadella on Thursday to discuss the future of the digital economy.