It would be the tech company’s second round of cuts since November. Mark Zuckerberg, its chief executive, has declared 2023 the “year of efficiency.”
March 14, 2023Updated 10:57 a.m. ET
Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it planned to lay off about 10,000 employees, or roughly 13 percent of its work force, the latest move to hew to what the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has called a “year of efficiency.”
The layoffs will affect its recruiting team this week, with a restructuring of its tech and business groups to come in April and May, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a memo posted on the company’s website. The new announcement is the company’s second round of cuts within the past half year. In November, Meta laid off more than 11,000 people, or about 13 percent of its work force at the time.
Meta also plans to close about 5,000 job postings that have yet to be filled, Mr. Zuckerberg said in the memo. Other restructuring efforts include a plan to wrap up this summer an analysis of Meta’s hybrid return-to-office model, which it began testing last March.
“This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” he wrote.
Mr. Zuckerberg is culling employees after years of hiring at a breakneck pace. His company gobbled up workers as its family of apps, which also include WhatsApp, became popular worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic also supercharged the use of mobile apps, leading to more growth. At its peak last year, Meta had 87,000 full-time employees.
But as the global economy soured and digital advertising markets contracted last year, Mr. Zuckerberg began putting an end to unchecked growth. Meta trimmed employee perks. And after the layoffs in November, which largely affected the business divisions and recruiting teams, Mr. Zuckerberg hinted at further cuts.
Layoffs in Big Tech
After a pandemic hiring spree, several tech companies are now pulling back.
- A Growing List: Alphabet, Microsoft and Zoom are among the latest tech giants to cut jobs amid concerns about an economic slowdown.
- Salesforce: The company said it would lay off 10 percent of its staff, a decision that seemed to go against the professed commitment of its co-founder and chief executive, Marc Benioff, to its workers.
- New Parents Hit Hard: At tech companies that spent recent years expanding paid parental leave, parents have felt the whiplash of mass layoffs in an especially visceral way.
- Tech’s Generational Divide: The recent cuts have been eye-opening to young workers. But to older employees who experienced the dot-com bust, it has hardly been a shock.
On an earnings call in February, the chief executive said he did not want the company to be overstuffed with a layer of middle management, or “managers managing managers.” He said he took responsibility for last year’s layoffs, blaming his zeal for staffing up on the surge of use early in the pandemic.
Meta is dealing with many challenges these days. It is grappling not only with a digital advertising slowdown but also with Apple’s privacy changes to its mobile operating system, which have restricted Meta’s ability to collect data on iPhone users to help target ads. It also faces steep competition from TikTok, which has soared in popularity over the past few years.
Meta is also in the midst of a tricky transition to become a “metaverse” company, connecting people to an immersive digital world through virtual-reality headsets and applications. Mr. Zuckerberg sees the metaverse as the next-generation computing platform, so Meta has been spending billions of dollars on the effort and reallocating workers to its Reality Labs division, which is focused on products for the metaverse.
Yet it’s unclear if people will want to use metaverse products. In recent months, the public has instead gravitated to chatbots, which are built on artificial intelligence. Meta has invested in A.I. for years but has not lately been at the center of the conversation about the technology.
In his announcement on Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg laid out a new vision to streamline the company’s organization, including removing layers of management, ending lower-priority projects and rebalancing product teams with a focus on engineering. He added that the moves were a response to global conditions, including increased regulation, geopolitical instability, higher interest rates and a cooling economy.
“The world economy changed, competitive pressures grew, and our growth slowed considerably,” he said. “We should prepare ourselves for the possibility that this new economic reality will continue for many years.”
Gregory Schmidt contributed reporting.