Meta may unleash sweeping layoffs this week, according to a new report.
Anonymous sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal said the layoffs could impact thousands of employees. A Meta spokesperson declined to comment on the record.
Meta (formerly Facebook) has never engaged in broad layoffs in its history, but the company currently faces challenges requiring it to take drastic measures. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pouring billions of dollars into the “metaverse,” an ecosystem of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps that he views as the next evolution of computing. Meanwhile, Apple’s increasingly stringent privacy controls have curtailed the ability of Meta’s social-media apps to harvest granular user data, triggering a notable decline in ad revenues. And if that wasn’t enough, TikTok has emerged as a particularly vicious competitor for users’ eyeballs.
Those challenges have spooked investors, and Meta’s stock tumbled more than 70 percent in 2022. Zuckerberg has indicated for months that Meta will cut expenses in some way: Back in September, The Wall Street Journal reported on the company’s attempts to slash costs by 10 percent, including staff reductions. Those workers cut from reorganized teams had to apply for other roles within the company.
Zuckerberg has also repeatedly stated he expects the company’s internal pace of work to increase, with fewer resources for staffers and more pressure to complete projects on deadline. That could make it more difficult to quickly fulfill his metaverse vision, which depends on legions of highly specialized technology professionals spending billions of dollars on cutting-edge research. Even as Meta releases new “mixed reality” headsets and iterates on VR environments, it faces the prospect of competition from Apple, which could release a long-rumored VR headset next year.
Meta isn’t the only company on the hunt for AR and VR talent. According to a recent study by Revelio Labs and Bloomberg, many companies (including consulting firms such as Accenture) are actively hiring these highly specialized technologists. Meta might be on the verge of cutting jobs, but it will still have to hire to fulfill its grand visions—as well as prevent other companies from luring away its most valuable technology professionals.