Facebook owner Meta is laying off more than 11,000 of its staff in “the most difficult changes we’ve ever made in Meta’s history,” chief Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.
He said the cuts represented 13% of the social media titan’s workforce and would affect its metaverse-focused research lab as well as its apps, which include Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.
The tech industry is in a severe downturn and several major companies have announced massive layoffs: Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, laid off half of his staff last week.
“I want to take responsibility for these decisions and how we got here,” Zuckerberg said in a note to staff.
“I know this is difficult for everyone, and I am especially sorry to those affected.”
Ad-supported platforms like Facebook and Google are suffering with advertisers looking to cut costs while battling inflation and rising interest rates.
Zuckerberg told staff he expected the momentum in e-commerce and online activity to continue during the Covid pandemic, but added: “I was wrong and I take responsibility for that.”
The recession has hit companies across the industry, with Apple and Amazon also recently posting results that disappointed investors.
But Meta also faces some unique problems of its own.
Investors have been concerned about Zuckerberg’s decision to spend billions of dollars developing the metaverse, an immersive version of the web accessed through virtual reality headsets.
Zuckerberg changed the company’s name to Meta a year ago to reflect his commitment to the project, but since then the division working on metaverse technology has reported losses of more than $3.5 billion.
He has hinted several times this year that belt-tightening measures were just around the corner and said in his letter on Wednesday that staff layoffs were a “last resort”.
Meta would also keep hiring frozen until next year, he said, and other spending cuts are planned.
“Basically, we are making all of these changes for two reasons: our revenue outlook is lower than we expected at the beginning of this year, and we want to make sure we are operating efficiently,” he wrote.
Last month, Meta announced earnings of $4.4 billion in the third quarter, a decline of 52 percent year-over-year, causing its share price to drop 25 percent.
© Agence France-Presse