Facebook parent Meta is laying off 11,000 employees, or about 13% of its workforce, as it deals with declining revenue and broader tech industry woes, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter to employees sent out Wednesday.
The layoffs come just a week after Twitter’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk, laid off a large number of employees. Several job cuts have occurred at other tech firms that hired quickly during the pandemic.
Zuckerberg also stated that he made the decision to hire aggressively, anticipating rapid growth even after the pandemic was over.
“Unfortunately, this did not go as planned,” Zuckerberg said in a prepared statement. “Not only has online commerce returned to previous trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ad signal loss have resulted in much lower revenue than I had anticipated.” I made a mistake, and I accept responsibility.”
Because more people stayed at home and scrolled on their phones and computers during the pandemic lockdown, Meta, like other social media companies, benefited financially. However, as the lockdowns ended and people began to venture outside again, revenue growth began to slow.
A slowing economy and a bleak outlook for online advertising — by far Meta’s most important revenue source — have added to the company’s woes. Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline in history this summer, followed by another, larger decline in the fall.
Some of the pain is specific to the company, while others are related to broader economic and technological forces.
Twitter laid off roughly half of its 7,500 employees last week as part of a chaotic transition as Musk assumed control. He tweeted that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over $4M/day,” but he did not elaborate.
Investors are concerned because Meta is pouring over $10 billion per year into the “metaverse” as it shifts its focus away from social media. According to Zuckerberg, the metaverse, an immersive digital universe, will eventually replace smartphones as the primary way people interact with technology.
Meta and its advertisers are preparing for a possible downturn. There’s also the issue of Apple’s privacy tools, which make it more difficult for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snap to track people and target ads to them without their consent.
TikTok is also posing a growing threat, as younger people prefer the video-sharing app to Instagram, which Meta also owns.
“We’ve cut costs across our business,” Zuckerberg said, “including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint.” “We’re reorganizing teams to improve efficiency.” However, these measures will not bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve made the difficult decision to let people go.”
Employees will receive an email from Zuckerberg on Wednesday informing them if they are among those laid off. Due to the sensitive nature of that information, he said, access to most company systems will be restricted for those who lose their jobs.
“We’re keeping email addresses active all day so everyone can say goodbye,” Zuckerberg explained.
Former employees will receive 16 weeks of base pay plus two weeks for each year they worked for the company, according to Zuckerberg. Employees’ and their families’ health insurance will be extended for another six months.
Meta Platforms Inc. stock jumped 4% before the market opened on Wednesday.