The supervisor summoned him into a virtual conference to discuss the company’s long-term objectives for 2022, even though the Instagram engineer had already packed his belongings for a December holiday.
Their talk took an unexpected turn shortly after. His supervisor urged him to forget about the objectives. His employer advised him to seek for a new job in the emerging augmented reality and virtual reality teams at Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, in order to be successful there. He said that it was in this area that the organisation need personnel.
It took the engineer, who had worked at Instagram for more than three years and who did not want to be recognised for fear of punishment, by surprise to learn that he would have to basically start over from scratch. He said that he hasn’t made up his mind on what to do.
Since announcing in October that he was placing his bets on the so-called metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and chief executive of the business previously known as Facebook, has completely upended his firm. According to this concept, his firm, which has since been renamed Meta, would expose individuals to shared virtual worlds and experiences that would be accessible across a variety of software and hardware platforms.
The adjustments represent some of the most significant changes that have occurred at the Silicon Valley corporation since 2012, when Mr. Zuckerberg declared that Facebook would be shifting its social network away from desktop computers and toward smartphones and tablets. A reorganisation took place, with the corporation concentrating its efforts and resources on developing mobile-friendly versions of its goods. The transformation was very successful, resulting in years of expansion.
However, altering the company’s trajectory at this point is significantly more difficult. Meta now has more than 68,000 workers, which is more than 14 times the number of people who worked there in 2012. Over that time span, the company’s market value has increased by more than eightfold, reaching $840 billion. Its company is well established in the realms of internet advertising and social media. And although the transition may offer Meta an advantage in the next phase of the internet’s evolution, the metaverse remains a purely theoretical idea — in contrast to the 2012 shift to mobile, which occurred at a time when smartphones were already extensively utilised.
According to two business insiders, the firm’s current social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, will continue to be affected by the metaverse emphasis. As a result of the cuts, several teams at Facebook and Instagram have decreased over the past four months, the companies said, adding that they anticipate their budgets for the second half of 2022 to be lower than in prior years.
One of Meta’s spokesmen stated the company’s primary focus was not on developing for the metaverse, which will be revealed in its quarterly financial report on Wednesday. He went on to say that as a result of the new approach, there haven’t been any big job layoffs within the current teams.
In his words, “there will be whole economies and nations constructed digitally via VR/Web3, and we are just scratching the surface.” He was referring to next-generation technologies for creating the metaverse, which he defined as “entire economies and countries produced digitally through VR/Web3.” As a result of goods such as its Oculus headsets, he said that Meta was in the lead when it came to virtual reality.
Facebook’s foray into the metaverse began at the very top of the company’s hierarchy. Mike Schroepfer, the company’s long-serving chief technology officer, said in September that he will step down by the end of 2022. Boz was replaced by Andrew Bosworth, sometimes known as “Boz,” who has spent the previous three years leading development on devices like as the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and the Ray Ban Stories smart glasses from Ray Ban.
Moreover, employees have been given the opportunity to sign up for testing of the Oculus Quest headgear and to utilise them for meetings in Horizon Workrooms, the company’s virtual reality work-conferencing facility.
According to two individuals with knowledge of the project, Meta is also working on additional wearable technology devices, including a wristwatch with health and fitness monitoring features, among other things. The smartwatch had previously been covered by the Information. They claim that Ray Ban Stories, the smart glasses that allow individuals to record videos, is a first step toward increasing public acceptance of wearing smart technology on their body.
Following Mr. Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook would be investing heavily in the metaverse, Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, hosted a company-wide meeting in which she fielded queries from workers about the shift.
During the virtual meeting, she expressed her excitement about the potential of the metaverse and encouraged participants to picture the many opportunities that would be accessible to individuals all over the globe, according to two workers who attended and listened in.
A large number of colleagues expressed their delight by sending love emoticons. However, in a private discussion for engineers that was accessed by The Times, one employee wrote: “Who is the elephant in the room who is going to inquire how it all works?” “No, that’s not it.”