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What just happened? It's been announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that the company is laying off 13% of its staff, or around 11,000 workers worldwide, confirming rumors from earlier this week that huge cuts were coming.
In a letter sent to Meta employees earlier today, Zuckerberg wrote: "Today I'm sharing some of the most difficult changes we've made in Meta's history." In addition to the 11,000+ employees being let go, the CEO talked about taking additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company, including extending its hiring freeze through the first quarter of its fiscal financial year and cutting discretionary spending. Meta's hiring division is expected to be the group most heavily affected by the move.
"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." Zuckerberg said.
Meta's value has fallen by around half a trillion dollars over the last 12 months. Net income in Q3 was down 52% to $4.4 billion, lower than analysts' estimates of $5 billion, while revenue was down 4% to $27.71 billion. Investors have looked on with concern as the social media giant pours more billions into Reality Labs, the division responsible for its metaverse ambitions, all of which led to rumors of major job cuts.
Meta's share price over the last 12 months
There has been a slew of tech companies laying off employees this year as they deal with the global economic downturn and advertisers reining in their spending. Lyft, Microsoft, Snap, Tesla, and Robinhood are just some of the big names to let go of staff recently. Twitter has also cut its headcount by half, though that's at Elon Musk's behest, and the lack of notice has led to another employment lawsuit for the world's richest person.
Meta is giving its laid-off employees in the US 16 weeks' severance pay along with two additional weeks for every year of service (without a cap). The company will also cover their health insurance for six months and offer RSU vesting, career services, remaining paid time off, and immigration support for staff with visas. Zuckerberg added that those affected will have their system access cut off immediately, "given the amount of access to sensitive information."
Zuckerberg is taking on much of the blame for the decision, noting that the tech boom brought about by the pandemic has not lasted the way he expected. "At the start of Covid, the world rapidly moved online and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth. Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments," he wrote.
"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."