Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, will lay off 10,000 more employees and eliminate 5,000 currently-unfilled positions as it struggles to cope with a "new economic reality" that includes higher interest rates, geopolitical instability, and increased regulation.
The cuts come as part of what Zuckerberg called Meta's "Year of Efficiency," which over the next couple of months will see "restructuring plans focused on flattening our orgs, canceling lower priority projects, and reducing our hiring rates." Employees of Meta's recruiting team will be told whether they still have jobs tomorrow, while cuts to tech groups will occur in April, followed by business group layoffs in May.
"This will be tough and there's no way around that. It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success," Zuckerberg wrote. "They've dedicated themselves to our mission and I'm personally grateful for all their efforts. We will support people in the same ways we have before and treat everyone with the gratitude they deserve."
A major goal of Zuckerberg's "Year of Efficiency" is to make Meta "flatter" and "leaner," which means eliminating layers of management and "cancelling projects that are duplicative or lower priority." Zuck also wants to ensure that technology is Meta's priority, which means "returning to a more optimal ratio of engineers to other roles."
"It's important for all groups to get leaner and more efficient to enable our technology groups to get as lean and efficient as possible," he wrote. "We will make sure we continue to meet all our critical and legal obligations as we find ways to operate more efficiently."
The word "efficient" appears in one form or another—efficiency, efficiently—no fewer than 20 times in Zuckerberg's layoffs announcement, and in fact the entire plan seems to hinge on it in some vague, undefined fashion. That may not seem like the most solid basis upon which to bet the future of the company (not to mention the thousands of people who still work there) but let's be honest, it's not as if prudent planning and reasonable expectations have figured largely in Meta's strategizing up to his point.
"We have the opportunity to be bolder and make decisions that other companies can't," he wrote. "So we put together a financial plan that enables us to invest heavily in the future while also delivering sustainable results as long as we run every team more efficiently. The changes we're making will enable us to meet this financial plan."
The announcement comes just four months after a previous round of layoffs at Meta that saw more than 11,000 employees let go. Zuckerberg blamed those job cuts on inaccurate predictions about the rate of revenue growth driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, along with "macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss," all of which resulted in Meta's revenues to come in much lower than expected. Meta earned $27.7 billion in its third quarter of 2022—that's a stretch of three months—of which $4.3 billion was net income.
Zuckerberg made no mention of it in today's announcement, but Stephane Kasriel, Meta's head of commerce and financial technologies, said yesterday that the company is "winding down digital collectibles (NFTs)" in order to focus on other priorities.