Facebook Owner Meta To Lay Off 11,000 Staff

This file photo taken on October 28, 2021 shows the META logo on a laptop screen in Moscow.  (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)
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Facebook parent company Meta on Wednesday said it is laying off 11,000 employees, marking the most significant job cuts in the tech giant’s history.

The job cuts come as Meta confronts a range of challenges to its core business and makes an uncertain and costly bet on pivoting to the metaverse. It also comes amid a spate of layoffs at other tech firms in recent months as the high-flying sector reacts to high inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a looming recession.

“Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post to employees. “I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go.”

The job cuts will impact many corners of the company, but Meta’s recruiting team will be hit particularly hard as “we’re planning to hire fewer people next year,” Zuckerberg said in the post. He added that a hiring freeze would be extended until the first quarter, with few exceptions.

In September, Meta had a headcount of more than 87,000, per a September SEC filing.

Meta’s core ad sales business has been hit by privacy changes implemented by Apple, advertisers tightening budgets and heightened competition from newer rivals like TikTok. Meanwhile, Meta has been spending billions to build a future version of the internet, dubbed the metaverse, that likely remains years away from widespread acceptance.

Meta to Lay Off 11,000 Staff, Cuts Workforce by 13%, ‘Reduces Perks

The news was shared around 3 a.m. PST with staff access “to most Meta systems” removed effective immediately.

In a company-wide memo that was all posted on the company’s public pages, Zuckerberg blamed the pandemic, saying that the digital growth and “surge of e-commerce” experienced during the early days of COVID-19 – when lockdowns meant people were stuck at home – seemed as though it would become a “permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended.”

Zuckerberg said employees would soon receive an email “letting you know what this layoff means for you” and support would be provided including severance packages, 6 months of health insurance in the U.S. and careers services. Those working in the U.S. on visas would be assisted by “immigration specialists” while Meta employees working internationally would be assisted in accordance with local employment laws.

 

“I [predicted this] too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments,” Zuckerberg said in his memo. “Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected. Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected. I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”

Zuckerberg said that as part of Meta’s effort to become “more capital efficient” it was “scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint.” Instead, he said resources would continue being poured into the AI discovery engine, the ads and business platforms and its “long-term vision for the metaverse.”

“Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history,” Zuckerberg said in a message sent to Meta’s staff. “I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.”

“I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted.”

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