Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced plans to lay off around 10,000 employees, representing roughly 13% of its workforce, as part of a new effort to streamline the company. The layoffs will begin with the recruiting team this week, with further restructuring of its tech and business groups planned for April and May. The announcement follows Meta’s previous round of layoffs in November, which saw more than 11,000 employees, or roughly 13% of its workforce, let go.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the move is part of his plan for a “year of efficiency” at the company, which has seen rapid growth in recent years thanks to the popularity of its suite of apps, including WhatsApp. However, the pandemic-led economic slowdown and a contraction in digital advertising markets have led the company to trim perks and reevaluate its workforce needs. On an earnings call in February, Zuckerberg expressed a desire to avoid an overstuffed middle management layer within the company.
Meta has also announced plans to close around 5,000 unfilled job postings. Other restructuring efforts include an analysis of the company’s hybrid return-to-office model, which it began testing in March 2020.
The layoffs are part of a wider trend of job cuts in the tech industry. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and others have also announced staff reductions in recent months, citing the challenging economic environment.
Meta faces other challenges beyond the economic environment, including competition from popular social media app TikTok, regulatory scrutiny of its data collection practices, and Apple’s privacy changes that restrict Meta’s ability to target ads to iPhone users. The company is also in the midst of a transition to become a “metaverse” company, connecting users to a virtual world through virtual reality headsets and applications, but it remains unclear whether people will adopt these products.
Meta employees have been bracing for further layoffs for months, with anxiety reportedly high within the organization. Tuesday’s announcement reportedly left some employees in the recruiting division feeling “gut-punched.” However, Zuckerberg has said that the layoffs are necessary to streamline the company, removing layers of management and ending lower-priority projects.