Meta Lays Off 11,000 Employees, VR/AR Teams Affected
Meta is laying off more than 11,000 of its employees in a 13 percent reduction in workforce.
The layoffs mark the first time Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has reduced its headcount after many years of continual growth. The job cuts comes alongside other reductions at the company “including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint,” according to a statement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“This will add up to a meaningful cultural shift in how we operate,” according to Zuckerberg. “We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.”
The chart below shows Meta’s headcount since 2017 when the company started reporting the figure in public filings. Meta acquired Oculus in 2014 so the chart begins years into the company’s substantial build-up toward establishing itself as a device maker for the next generation of personal computing. Meta reported a headcount of 87,314 a couple weeks ago and 18,770 at the start of 2017.
Meta is not alone in cost-cutting as other major tech companies including Microsoft and Snap resize efforts, and even companies with a lot of cash on hand like Apple have frozen hiring. Meta, though, is particularly hard hit as Zuckerberg increased spending on investments leading up to the layoffs just as the company’s core ads business faced fierce competition from the likes of Apple and TikTok.
“Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
Zuckerberg maintains his “long-term vision for the metaverse” remains a “high priority growth” area for the company.