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Tipsheet

Massive Layoffs Coming at Facebook

Timur Emek

Facebook, or Meta, has not fared well under the Biden administration, whose economic agenda has created a recession and high inflation. The level of volatility has led to massive losses for the social media giant that employs nearly 90,000 people. Mark Zuckerberg, the site’s founder, has been at the receiving end of hatred from both parties. Democrats blame him for accepting money to promote Russian ads, while conservatives have lobbed legitimate criticism over the platform’s content moderation policies. There is censorship of conservative content on the site—that is not a dispute.

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Yet, criticism from the Left and Right is probably not high on Zuckerberg’s action list. The market’s drumming of Facebook has lost the company close to a trillion dollars since 2021. Such losses mean that massive layoffs are coming. The Wall Street Journal reports that many could be shown the door this week, with the company instructing its employees to cancel all nonessential travel in preparation for the mass firings (via WSJ):

Meta Platforms Inc. is planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could be the largest round in a recent spate of tech job cuts after the industry’s rapid growth during the pandemic. 

The layoffs are expected to affect many thousands of employees and an announcement is planned to come as soon as Wednesday, according to the people. Meta reported more than 87,000 employees at the end of September. Company officials already told employees to cancel nonessential travel beginning this week, the people said.

The planned layoffs would be the first broad head-count reductions to occur in the company’s 18-year history. While smaller on a percentage basis than the cuts at Twitter Inc. this past week, which hit about half of that company’s staff, the number of Meta employees expected to lose their jobs could be the largest to date at a major technology corporation in a year that has seen a tech-industry retrenchment.

A spokesman for Meta declined to comment, referring to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statement that the company would “focus our investments on a small number of high priority growth areas.”

“So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year,” he said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 26. “In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.” 

The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Meta was planning to cut expenses by at least 10% in the coming months, in part through staff reductions. 

The cuts expected to be announced this week follow several months of more targeted staffing reductions in which employees were managed out or saw their roles eliminated.

“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Mr. Zuckerberg told employees at a companywide meeting at the end of June.

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For those who had invested in this company, it’s been devastating, even driving CNBC’s Mad Money’s Jim Cramer to become emotional as he peddled the stock, saying he trusted Facebook’s management team. As the saying goes, whatever Cramer says or thinks, do the opposite.

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