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Meta employees furious after Zuck’s company lays off 10,000

By Sarah May
|
March 19, 2023

After announcing another massive round of layoff close on the heels of last year's substantial job cuts, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was subjected to a series of uncomfortable questions from employees clearly concerned about their future at the company, as the Daily Mail reports.

The grilling came in a Thursday company video conference, which came after the parent company of Facebook confirmed reports that it would slash 10,000 jobs in the months to come, compounding cuts of an additional 11,000 that occurred at the end of last year.

Meta confirms cuts

The corporate decisions that led to Zuckerberg's time in the hot seat were announced Tuesday, and were perhaps deeper than many in Meta's rank and file anticipated.

According to The Verge, 10,000 workers are poised to lose their jobs in the coming months, hiring will be closed on 5,000 currently open positions, and low-priority projects will be placed on the backburner.

That this news followed last year's layoffs of 11,000 – a figure that represented 13% of the entire company – was likely a particularly bitter pill for remaining employees to swallow.

Attempting to assuage the fears of staffers as best he could, Zuckerberg said in a memo to employees, “My hope is to make these org changes as soon as possible in the year so we can get past this period of uncertainty and focus on the critical work ahead.”

Zuckerberg explains

In explaining the rationale behind the personnel reductions, Zuckerberg declared last year's collapse in Meta revenue growth to be “a humbling wake-up” call, as The Verge further noted.

Suggesting that the tough times may be here for a while, Zuckerberg added, “Higher interest rates lead to the economy running leaner, more geopolitical instability leads to more volatility, and increased regulation leads to slower growth and increased costs of innovation. Given this outlook, we'll need to operate more efficiently than our previous headcount reduction to ensure success.”

It was just last month that Zuckerberg declared 2023 the “year of efficiency,” and he has been working to eliminate redundant layers of management by transitioning some managers into more individualized roles within the company.

“People will be more productive, and their work will be more fun and fulfilling,” Zuckerberg pledged.

Skepticism abounds

Not everyone in the Meta employee universe shared that sense of outward optimism, however, as was evident from the aforementioned Thursday call in which Zuckerberg took “anonymous” questions from company staffers.

One worker addressed one of the elephants in the room by asking how employees could “trust leadership decisions after two rounds of layoffs.”

To that, Zuckerberg replied, “I would guess that the way that you will evaluate whether you trust me and whether you want to work at this company is whether we're succeeding and making progress towards the overall state of goals.”

“Whether you think you basically get good context for me on what we're trying to do and that I'm being honest and giving you my best expectation that I can of things,” Zuckerberg continued.

Evolving landscape

Zuckerberg was put on the spot once more when an employee inquired as to what had changed so dramatically since November, when the CEO indicated that the massive layoffs in that round would make subsequent ones unnecessary.

Acknowledging the fairness of the question, Zuckerberg pointed to the rapidly changing landscape and persistent economic volatility.

“My guess is that we're not the only company that's going through multiple rounds of restructuring or things like that. I'm sure there are going to be a lot more as well over the long term,” the Meta leader posited.

Though Zuckerberg's responses may have been cold comfort for those in his company who continue to fear for their jobs, those workers are certainly not the only members of the tech sector workforce for whom 2023 has already been a harrowing ride.