What’s going on with Meta?

Disappointing Performance Leads to Massive Layoffs

Camila Tabora, Lion's Roar Staff

    A year ago, Mark Zuckerberg was making headlines for Meta, the new name and direction toward which he was steering his company, formerly known as Facebook. He envisioned a metaverse-geared future, where his company would pave the way with a virtual world where people would hang out, sort of in a Ready Player One-esque fashion. Unfortunately for Zuckerberg, that does not seem to have been the case.

    Zuckerberg himself has even called the last year “a humbling wake up call”, with company stock falling by 72% and losing around $700 billion, as the premise was widely unpopular. He has since vowed to make 2023 “the year of efficiency”. Regrettably, this seems to be  mostly through layoffs. Within Meta, 10,000 people were laid off in March and 11,000 were laid off back in November. 5,000 old roles are also now closed. 

   The main problem was that in the years of the pandemic, Meta expected much higher growth than was feasible, hiring more than 27,000 employees. People are reported as having nothing to do at work, with multiple projects delayed. One employee told Entrepreneur that, “Honestly it’s still a mess. The year of efficiency is kicking off with a bunch of people getting paid to do nothing.” The workforce for the company appear have expressed concerns of being frustrated and bored, and especially in light of the more recent events, afraid of getting fired. 

   Zuckerberg appears to have hopes of continuing this trend of downsizing, since he apparently wants to cut out “middle management” and to use more AI, a process he calls the “flattening”. He has recently also emphasized in-person work, as his numbers have suggested that this form is more productive than remote work. Other tech companies, including Twitter, Apple and Salesforce, have also made drastic firings after making similar mistakes during the pandemic.

     The case of this company is simply exacerbated by Zuckerberg’s original exaggerated optimism on the metaverse concept. Time has shown that the average person does not want to buy into this idea, and the sales mirror this sentiment. It seems that something will have to be done with the company to make it profitable again, which will probably mean some more effective appeal to the masses. In the meanwhile, it and the tech world as a whole seems to be in a rocky condition.