Meta Could Layoff 12,000 Employees, Despite Claiming It Wouldn’t

As Meta continues to suffer from a fall in ad spending, employees could lose their jobs.
Isobel O'Sullivan

After claiming that layoffs will be used as a last resort, Meta executives have just instructed directors to place at least 15% of their team on performance improvement plans (PIPs). This move is likely to affect around 12,000 workers across the company.

The plans, which are referred to internally as “30-day lists” give employees a month to find a new role in the company. But according to sources from inside the company, being placed on the list is more likely than not akin to being let go.

Just like fellow tech company Google, Meta has also implemented a hiring freeze to brace itself against a potential downturn. But as the firm deals with its lowest period of trading since 2019, it appears that more radical action needs to be taken, unfortunately at the expense of company employees.

Meta's 30-Day List is Longer Than Expected

Over the past few months, Mark Zuckerburg hasn't been shy about his plan to get tough on employees.

In June, Meta's CEO announced he would be raising expectations and setting more aggressive goals for his workers, including “turning up the heat” on performance management, as the company teeters over “one of the worst downturns in recent history”.

Last month, Zuckerburg proved to stay true to his word, announcing that underperforming workers would be placed workers on performance plans, forcing them to reapply for other positions within the company as part of Meta's wider effort to “prioritize more ruthlessly.”

Fast-forward to October, and Meta's performance plans are being rolled out on a much wider scale than workers assumed. According to a report recently released by Business Insider, Meta directors have been instructed to place at least 15% of their teams on a performance plan. This equates to around 12,000 company employees.

But while being placed on a performance plan may sound harmless, Meta workers on Blind — a popular app for professionals — think differently. As revealed in Business Insider's recent report, employees on the app think being put on PIP is the equivalent of being handed a death sentence in the company.

“These 15% will likely be put on PIP and be let go”, explained one Meta employee, with another describing the company's expansion of the plan as “quiet layoffs”.

Take a look at our running list of tech layoffs so far in 2022

Meta is Hemorrhaging Users — and Money

But why is one of the world's biggest tech companies being forced to make such drastic changes to personnel?

Well, unfortunately for Meta, Facebook users are rapidly in decline. For the first time in the social network's history, its user base is dwindling and by next year, it's predicted that fewer than 15% of Facebook users will be under 25. This comes as popular apps like TikTok continue to give younger generations alternative ways to share content and stay connected online.

This exodus is proving to be costly too. As users continue to jump ship, advertisers are following suit, resulting in rapidly declining ad revenue. This, alongside a fall in consumer spending and spiking interest rates, has led Meta to lose about two-thirds of its value, since peaking in September 2021.

But what about the ace up Meta's sleeve, the Metaverse?

It's Bad News for the Metaverse, Too

Unfortunately for Zuckerburg, it seems like his company's hardships may also be felt in the virtual realm. After channeling billions into the Metaverse — Meta's brainchild that allows users to work, socialize and play in a virtual space — the company's flagship “metaverse” app is off to a rocky start.

According to internal memos obtained by The Verge, the app features many bugs and technical issues, which has resulted in some workers dropping the app entirely.

In a recently released memo, developers acknowledge that “the aggregate weight of papercuts, stability issues, and bugs” make it hard for Meta's community to experience the “magic” of the app. However, they remain dedicated to making quality improvements for members of the Meta community.

It looks like the dominance of web conferencing apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams don't have to worry about being usurped by the Metaverse anytime soon.

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Isobel is a writer at Tech.co with a wealth of experience covering business and technology news. Since specializing in Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also spent time working as a freelance tech researcher. As a writer, Isobel takes a particular interest in issues regarding data security, social media, and emerging business technology.

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