Meta is laying off more than 11,000 employees

It's the first mass layoffs in the company's history.

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Meta is reducing the size of its workforce by about 13 percent and letting more than 11,000 of its employees go in the first mass layoffs in the company’s history. Mark Zuckerberg has announced the move in a message to employees, which Meta shared on its Newsroom. The job cuts will affect every organization in the company, though some will be impacted more than others. In addition to considerably reducing the size of its team, the company is also cutting discretionary spending and extending its hiring freeze through the first quarter of 2023. And since it's planning to hire much fewer people next year, the recruitment team will be "disproportionately affected" by the layoffs.

Zuckerberg says he wants to take accountability for how Meta found itself in this position. Apparently, he made the decision to significantly increase Meta's investments following an exceptionally large revenue growth in the height of the pandemic, as users spent more on e-commerce. "Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended," he explained. His gamble did not pay off, however, and the return of e-commerce to pre-pandemic trends, as well as the economic downturn, had led to revenue lower than expected. As such, Meta has chosen to focus on its priority growth areas, including its ads and business platforms and, of course, its long-term vision for the metaverse.

The CEO says employees will soon get an email about the layoffs. In the US, Meta will give affected staff members a severance pay worth 16 weeks of their base plus two additional weeks for every year of service, with no cap. It will also cover the cost of healthcare for the affected employees and their families for six months. The company promises to help them find new jobs by using an external vendor that will give them access to unpublished job listings, as well as to support employees on visa with a dedicated team of immigration specialists. Support will be similar for those in other countries, with differences that take local employment laws into account.

Meta says it has already removed system access for those being let go today, given the amount of sensitive information it has access to. Their email addresses will remain active throughout the day, however, so their co-workers wouldn't have to guess who's still around. In contrast, Twitter reportedly cut off people's access to their emails even before they knew that they got laid off, and it was unclear who still worked there in the first days after the job cuts started.

The Elon Musk-owned social network announced its mass layoffs, which reduced its workforce in half, in an email signed "Twitter." Employees were then left waiting for a follow-up email that would decide their fate: If it landed on their work email, they still have a job. But if it landed on their personal email, they got cut. According to a Bloomberg report, Twitter has now been asking some employees to return after realizing the it laid them off by accident or that their skills are essential in building the features Musk wants.

News of the impending layoffs was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which also reported that Meta’s recruiting and business teams would be hit especially hard.

Mark Zuckerberg has been hinting at cuts for some time. During the company’s most recent earnings call, the CEO said Meta could become “a slightly smaller organization” by the end of 2023.He also has reportedly instructed managers to identify people for layoffs, and has told employees that “realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn't be here." The company has already halted new hiring and cut some projects within Reality Labs.

Meta has been losing billions of dollars on its investments in the metaverse, with Reality Labs losing more than $10 billion in 2021. The company has said it expects to lose “significantly” more in 2023. Facebook’s ad revenue has also taken a significant hit due to Apple’s changes to apps’ ad tracking abilities.

Though Meta and Twitter are cutting a significant number of jobs, they're not the only major tech companies to lay off workers in recent months. Snap laid off about 20 percent of its workforce over the summer, as well.

Mariella Moon contributed to this post.

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