Facebook parent company Meta could announce large-scale layoffs as early as next week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The outlet reports the company is planning to cut “many thousands” of employees, with an announcement coming as soon as Wednesday. Meta currently employs more than 87,000 individuals. The cuts could be the largest workforce reduction conducted by a tech company this year, surpassing the layoffs made by Twitter on Friday. The cuts would also represent the first broad restructuring in Meta’s history.
Meta declined to comment. A spokesperson pointed Engadget to a statement CEO Mark Zuckerberg made during the company’s recent Q3 earnings call. “In 2023, we're going to focus our investments on a small number of high-priority growth areas. So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year,” he said. “In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.”
As The Journal points out, Meta grew significantly during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, adding more than 27,000 employees in 2020 and 2021. The company’s hiring spree continued through the first nine months of 2022, a period during which it brought on an additional 15,344 employees. While the company was a major beneficiary of the pandemic, its fortunes have changed in recent months. In July, the company reported its first-ever revenue drop. The company has blamed its recent hardships on tough competition from TikTok and the release of Apple’s contentious App Tracking Transparency feature.
At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg’s bid on the Metaverse has so far failed to create new revenue opportunities for the company while costing it dearly. Since the start of 2021, Meta has spent $15 billion to make virtual and augmented reality mainstream with little success. The company expects to lose even more money on the project in 2023.