Facebook Owner Meta Slashes Business Operations Staff in Final Round of Mass Layoffs

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
May 25, 2023Businessshare
Facebook Owner Meta Slashes Business Operations Staff in Final Round of Mass Layoffs
Morning commuter traffic streams past the Meta sign outside Meta Platforms Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, on November 9, 2022. (REUTERS/Peter DaSilva)

Meta Platforms Inc., owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, slashed jobs across its business and operations units on Wednesday as part of a plan announced last fall to eliminate 10,000 jobs in the course of a broader restructuring program.

Dozens of Meta employees from enterprise engineering, marketing, corporate communications, site security, program management, and content strategy took to LinkedIn to announce that they had been laid off.

According to the LinkedIn posts, the social media giant also cut staff working on its privacy and integrity teams.

This is the third round of layoffs at Meta since last November, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post that he would let go of more than 11,000 employees—some 13 percent of Meta personnel—after overestimating the e-commerce growth trend in the wake of some 18 years of seemingly unstoppable expansion.

“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that,” Zuckerberg wrote on November 9.

His announcement promptly bumped Meta shares up by 5 percent after the company’s stock had taken a sharp dive on October 27, when it released a disappointing third-quarter earnings report and even lower forecasts for future revenues.

In March, Zuckerberg announced a second round of mass layoffs, which were planned to take place in three main batches over several months and impact 10,000 employees.

In addition, lower-priority projects and hiring plans for 5,000 openings were canceled.

According to Zuckerberg, some 4,000 people were let go in April. These layoffs primarily hit tech teams—mostly staff from content design and user-experience research, while programmers were retained.

This month’s layoffs should be the last round of redundancies at Meta, following Zuckerberg’s pledge to restructure business teams “substantially” and return to a “more optimal ratio of engineers to other roles.”

The company’s shares gained ground slightly this week in a broadly weaker market. Shares have more than doubled in value this year and are among the top performers in the S&P 500 index—thanks to the cost-cutting drive and Meta’s focus on artificial intelligence.

The social media company said on Wednesday that the latest cuts were likely to impact its international headquarters in Dublin the most, where around 490 employees will lose their jobs—almost 20 percent of Meta’s Irish workforce.

The company has also been pouring billions of dollars into its Metaverse-oriented Reality Labs unit, which lost $13.7 billion in 2022, and a project to whip its infrastructure into shape to support artificial intelligence work.

This last round of mass layoffs come just a few days after Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) slapped Meta with a 1.2-billion-euro ($1.3-billion) fine for violating data transfer rules.

Since the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, the DPC has fined Meta a total of 2.5 billion euro for various violations—more than any other company.

The Irish regulator currently has as many as 10 other investigations into the company on its books.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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