Meta Layoffs Mark Zuckerberg Says They Reveal Changes in Silicon

Meta Layoffs: Mark Zuckerberg Says They Reveal Changes in Silicon Valley –

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg faces a new reality. His company, which has been raking in profits, users, and stock market gains year after year for over a decade, isn’t growing as fast.

“We are in a different world and had to make some changes. But I made those calls,” Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks before addressing employee questions in an employee-wide Q&A Thursday morning.

Zuckerberg’s comments come a day after the company laid off 4,000 employees as part of the CEO’s planned “Year of Efficiency.” These austerity measures are just the latest in a series of layoffs, with more planned for May. In a recording of the meeting obtained by Vox, Zuckerberg acknowledged employees’ “anger and frustration” at the ongoing mass cuts and answered several questions about whether leadership would be held accountable for the company’s current position.

“People want to point out whose fault it is or what the fault is or what the mistakes were,” Zuckerberg said at the meeting. “But on some level, it’s kind of natural that you’re not going to be in hypergrowth forever. If you’re not, you want to postpone the moment.”

Even if a company grows from 40 to 50 percent a year to 10 or 15, “that’s great too,” Zuckerberg said — as long as it can adapt.

The exchange was a thoughtful moment for Zuckerberg, who for several months has been trying to shift Meta’s work culture toward greater efficiency, and now appears to be positioning Meta to enter a new chapter in its story. The 38-year-old has repeatedly said the company operates under a different “operating model” – one characterized by tighter budgets, slower hiring and fewer layers of management.

This new rhetoric is a sign of how much Meta’s fortunes have changed since the company formerly known as Facebook flourished with its relentless growth and free spend. In recent years, Facebook and Instagram have faced stiff competition from TikTok, shrinking advertising budgets, and regulatory pressures that have slowed business. Meanwhile, the company’s long-term bet on the Metaverse is still far from a reality. “Last year was a wake-up call, and our growth slowed significantly — the first time our growth was negative year over year,” Zuckerberg said. “And while I expect we will grow going forward, we will grow at a more normal rate.”

Zuckerberg also confirmed some previously unreported details about the layoffs: Twenty percent of managers have been cut, he said, to “smash” the company, and other managers are being asked to change jobs to become individual employees.

In the Q&A, Zuckerberg repeatedly claimed responsibility for the layoffs, answered difficult questions, and at one point expressed personal regret.

“Of course, in hindsight, I wish I had seen some of these trends earlier and didn’t have to?” he said, referring to the layoffs. “Of course. Of course.”

But Zuckerberg largely blamed factors outside of his control for Meta’s cuts, saying: “The last few years have been kind of unprecedented volatility with everything around Covid, the macro economy, wars and various things. So I think having a little bit of humility or what people can predict and understand in advance – I wish I had – but I know there were a lot of other people in the same zone as well.”

Zuckerberg argued that the real “mistake” would be to continue to pretend that Meta would be in a “hyper-growth” period for much longer. Many “other peers in the tech industry,” he said, “maybe do it [that] by not making such big adjustments.”

At the end of the call, Zuckerberg tried to end on an optimistic note by arguing that Meta — which he said is still investing in Metaverse and AI — will be at the forefront of those technologies, in part due to the company’s massive reach. Meta’s apps, like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, are used by over 3 billion people every day.

“I think once this is settled, we will end up in a better position to continue what I believe is one of the most transformative times in the industry in terms of new technology development,” Zuckerberg said. Meta, he said, is well suited to “incorporating it into products on a scale that can’t be matched anywhere else.”

The question is whether this new era of more normal growth will be enough to propel Meta into the metaverse future promised by Zuckerberg.

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