March 17, 2023:
Alex Heath reports in his Command Line newsletter that the layoffs will also affect the 20,000 or so employees of Reality Labs, although managers have already made it clear internally that Meta’s VR/AR hardware roadmap will remain intact.
Meta is laying off another 10,000 workers to achieve the company’s “long-term vision.” Which is: full AI integration and the Metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg has just announced a second wave of layoffs. About 10,000 employees will lose their jobs and 5,000 open positions will be closed. “This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” Metas CEO wrote in a message to employees.
In November, Meta laid off 11,000 employees, or 13 percent of its workforce.
On a call with investors in February, Zuckerberg called 2023 the “year of efficiency” and set the stage for more layoffs. Most are expected to be completed by the end of May.
Meta plans to flatten its organizations, cancel lower-priority projects, and reduce hiring rates.
“My hope is to make these org changes as soon as possible in the year so we can get past this period of uncertainty and focus on the critical work ahead,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.
Zuckerberg continues to plan for the long term
In his message, Zuckerberg refers to Meta several times as a “technology company,” a departure from the Metaverse-only focus of the past year and a half. Although the Metaverse continues to play a key role in Zuckerberg’s plans.
Meta needs to become a better technology company and improve its financial performance in order to execute its “long-term vision,” he said. Zuckerberg uses these words several times. Later in his message, Meta’s CEO elaborates on what he primarily means: HAVE and the metaverse.
“Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products.” He continued, “Our leading work building the metaverse and shaping the next generation of computing platforms also remains central to defining the future of social connection.”
2022 was a “humbling wake-up call” for Meta
Zuckerberg did not say to what extent the Reality Labs division, which is responsible for building the metaverse products, would be affected by the cuts. Meta’s CEO did, however, hint at a light at the end of the tunnel: After the restructuring, Meta plans to lift the hiring and transfer freezes in each group.
Still, Zuckerberg is preparing employees for tough economic times that could last “for many years.”
“For most of our history, we saw rapid revenue growth year after year and had the resources to invest in many new products. But last year was a humbling wake-up call,” Zuckerberg wrote, citing the global economy, increasing competitive pressures and the company’s slowed growth.
Between September 2021 and November 2022, the company’s market value fell by more than 75 percent. It has since recovered somewhat, but is still half its peak value.