More than 11,000 workers at Meta will lose their jobs, the technology company has announced, a figure that includes some staff working in its VR team Reality Labs. The Company Formerly Known As Facebook broke the bad news to employees via a message CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared earlier today. The job losses equate to 13% of Meta’s entire staff. Redundancies will affect staff across Meta’s global offices, including here in the UK.
Zuckerberg said he was "especially sorry to those impacted" by the cuts, and that he wants "to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here". Exactly what kind of accountability he'll be taking remains to be seen, however. He hasn't yet announced he'll be taking a cut in his own pay, for example, in the same vein as Nintendo's late great Satoru Iwata did back in 2014 when the company was struggling to get the Wii U off the ground, or any other measure at all, for that matter.
Instead, Zuckerberg attributed the cuts to his own "wrong" predictions on how the company's ecommerce revenue growth would continue to grow after the pandemic. He said he "made the decision to significantly increase our investments" off the back of that prediction, but, "Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected," he admitted.
Zuckerberg’s statement also confirmed that Meta are imposing a hiring freeze through the first three months of 2023, among other changes to their business operations, and that the company will attempt to become "leaner and more efficient" by reducing non-essential costs. Don't even get me started on whether Meta itself counts as essential, Mark.
While I’m deeply sympathetic to the employees who are losing their jobs during one of the worst economic crises in living memory, I’m not entirely surprised that Meta is restructuring. Reality Labs' chief financial officer David Wehner said in Meta's most recent financial results for this year that the VR team's operating losses would "grow significantly year-over-year in 2023", for example. The whole Metaverse is a concept I find extremely dubious at best, and laughably bereft of any real merit at worst. I mean, legs. Just legs.
Meta’s huge layoffs are the latest woe to befall big tech companies that affects offshoots of the games industry. Back in September, Google announced suddenly that they were shutting down their Stadia streaming service, which came as a surprise to the developers who were still working on games for it.