Reporter Yang Yang
Layoffs at US Internet giant Meta are about to begin.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook's parent company Meta, held a meeting to tell hundreds of senior executives that the company would officially start laying off employees at 6 a.m. Et on Wednesday.
Mr. Zuckerberg appeared frustrated at the meeting, saying he was responsible for the company's missteps because he had overstaffed the company because of his over-optimism about growth, according to people familiar with the matter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when most companies moved online, Meta experienced a significant expansion in hiring. In 2020 and 2021, Meta added more than 27,000 employees, and in the first nine months of this year added more than 15,000 employees. In its third-quarter earnings release on Oct. 26, Meta reported that it had more than 87,000 employees at the end of September, up 28% from last year.
Zuckerberg said the job cuts will be large, especially in the recruitment and business departments, and the company is expected to make an announcement around 7 PM Beijing time on November 9. The expected layoffs, which are expected to affect thousands of people, represent the first mass layoffs in the company's 18-year history and could be the biggest in the tech industry so far this year, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.
Lori Goler, head of human resources at Meta, said the company will offer laid-off employees at least four months 'pay as severance. After the meeting, many department heads had already begun informing their subordinates that the company was about to cut staff and restructure departments.
A person on Blind, an anonymous workplace community platform, confirmed that Zuckerberg held a meeting with senior executives on Tuesday. News of the job cuts is being kept under wraps at the top, with leaks suggesting that people at the M1 and M2 levels are also in the dark, and that the company's vice president will be in charge of making decisions.
News of the layoffs has caused panic among employees at Meta, where a Blind search for the keyword "Meta" shows dozens of posts discussing layoffs. Bracing for the worst in recent days, Meta employees have been seeking details of layoffs and forming groups with colleagues to discuss how to advocate for their own interests, the Journal said.
In September, Meta announced a hiring freeze, plans to lay off employees and restructure some of its teams. On the Q3 earnings call, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that the company will focus on its priorities in 2023, including a "discovery engine" for short video platform Reels, growing its advertising business, and the Metaverse project, which means some teams will be reorganized. Meta is expected to be flat or slightly smaller than Q3 by the end of 2023.
As of the U.S. market close on Nov. 8, Meta was down 0.26 percent at $96.47 per share, having fallen more than 70 percent this year.