'I Got This Wrong': Meta to Move Forward With Mass Cuts

Mark Zuckerberg announces workforce will shrink by 13%
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2022 6:45 AM CST
'I Got This Wrong': Meta to Move Forward With Mass Cuts
Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday confirmed that the first mass layoffs in the company's history are happening, with 11,000 "talented employees"—or 13% of the workforce—to be cut. Meta's hiring freeze will also persist through Q1. The Wall Street Journal confirms it marks the first "broad head-count reduction" in the company's 18 years and observes that while a greater percentage of Twitter employees were recently laid off, the total number of Meta employees being axed "appears to be the largest to date at a major tech company." Zuckerberg explained his reasoning and process in a lengthy blog post in which he "take[s] 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 writes.

In describing how the company got to this point, Zuckerberg dated the shift to the onset of COVID, when "the world rapidly moved online and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth." Zuckerberg acknowledges he was among the group that "predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended," and that thinking led him to "significantly increase our investments. 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 added that the layoffs come as a "last resort" and were made after other costs were trimmed. "Overall, this will add up to a meaningful cultural shift in how we operate. For example, as we shrink our real estate footprint, we’re transitioning to desk sharing for people who already spend most of their time outside the office. We’ll roll out more cost-cutting changes like this in the coming months." His post details the exit package for those affected, which includes 16 weeks of severence plus an additional two weeks for every year they were at the company. While all areas of the company will be touched, the recruiting team will see a deeper level of cuts, he noted; the Journal's sources said "cuts would in part affect staff with overlapping job responsibilities."

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"This is a sad moment, and there’s no way around that," writes Zuckerberg in closing. "To those who are leaving, I want to thank you again for everything you’ve put into this place. We would not be where we are today without your hard work, and I’m grateful for your contributions. To those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you too. Not only are we saying goodbye to people we’ve worked closely with, but many of you also feel uncertainty about the future. I want you to know that we’re making these decisions to make sure our future is strong." Bloomberg notes Meta's stock is down 71% this year; shares were up roughly 3.5% in premarket trading on the news. (More Meta stories.)

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