Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) management claims that in 2014 the social network had a positive global impact of $227 billion and triggered job growth of 4.5 million. The data come from a study Facebook commissioned from Deloitte.
The claims are impossible to prove since the assumptions may be inaccurate. Deloitte was left with a task that was not possible — to look into every corner of the world’s economy and search for effects. The report admits that the information it used is based on information that Facebook and third party sources provided. Further, Deloitte has not attempted to “corroborate this information” or “review its overall reasonableness.”
However, the “Facebook’s Global Economic Impact” survey showed that the $227 billion number came from:
More specifically, Deloitte’s report looks at how Facebook stimulates economic impact by providing 1) tools for marketers; 2) a platform for app developers; and 3) demand for connectivity, meaning data usage and mobile devices. The study is an update to Deloitte’s 2011 European report on the subject and now includes an analysis of other regions and countries.
Despite the hurdles to prove the claims, Deloitte was very specific:
- The United States is estimated to capture the largest share of economic impact enabled, $100bn;
- High rates of engagement enabled $21bn of economic impact in Central and South America;
- The thriving app economy in EMEA has helped to generate $13bn of economic impact for the region through the platform effects; and
- In APAC internet uptake and purchases of devices motivated by Facebook have contributed to $13bn of economic impact.
The bottom line for observers should be to ask why Facebook needs to go to such lengths to justify the value of its existence beyond having approximately 1.3 billion members, being among the fastest growing big companies in the United States, and having one of the largest market caps of any public corporation listed on an American exchange.