Mark Zuckerberg prepares meta-employees for a tougher 2022

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Meta employees: Buckle up for the tough times ahead.

In an internal meeting on Thursday, Meta CEO Zuckerberg said the Silicon Valley company was facing one of the “worst downturns we’ve seen in recent history,” according to reports. copies of his comments which were shared with The New York Times. He told Meta’s 77,800 workers that they should prepare to do more work with fewer resources and that their performance would be rated more intensely than before.

Mr Zuckerberg added that the company – which owns Facebook, Instagram and other apps – was cutting its hiring targets. Meta now expects to hire 6,000 to 7,000 new engineers this year, up from a previous target of around 10,000, he said. In some areas, hiring will stop altogether, especially for junior engineers, although the number of employees will increase in other parts of the business, he said.

“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and self-selection is right for me,” Zuckerberg said on the call. “In reality, there’s probably a bunch of people in the business who shouldn’t be here.”

The CEO’s comments, which are among the most scathing he has directed at employees, reflect the degree of difficulty Meta is facing with his business. The company, which for years has gone from strength to strength financially, found itself in an unfamiliar position this year as it struggled. While it saw strong growth in the early parts of the pandemic, it has more recently been grappling with turmoil in the global economy with rising inflation and interest rates.

This economic uncertainty hits as Meta navigates the tumult of its core business of social networking and advertising. Mr Zuckerberg said last year that his company, renamed Facebook’s Meta, was taking a long-term bet to build the immersive world of the so-called Metaverse. He spent billions of dollars on this effort, which resulted in a decline in Meta’s profits.

The company is also facing a major blow to its advertising business after Apple made privacy changes to its mobile operating system that limit the amount of data Facebook and Instagram can collect about its users.

As a result, Meta has posted back-to-back profit declines this year, the first time this has happened in over a decade. In February, after a dismal financial report, Meta’s stock plunged 26% and its market value plunged more than $230 billion in what was the company’s biggest one-day wipeout. In March, the company announced to its employees that it was reducing or eliminating free services like laundry and dry cleaning.

In a memo to employees on Thursday, Chris Cox, Meta’s chief product officer, echoed Zuckerberg’s sentiments and said the company was going through “serious times” and “economic headwinds are fierce,” according to a copy of the note that was read. at the Times.

“We need to perform perfectly in a slower growth environment, where teams shouldn’t expect vast influxes of new engineers and budgets,” Cox said. “We need to prioritize more ruthlessly, think about measuring and understanding what drives impact, invest in the efficiency and speed of developers across the business, and leverage leaner, more efficient teams. and more efficient.”

The comments from Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Cox to employees were reported earlier by Reuters. A spokesperson for Meta said Mr Cox’s memo echoed what the company had said publicly in earnings calls and was candid about its “challenges” and “opportunities”.

During Thursday’s internal meeting, which was held by videoconference, Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments appeared to stem from a sense of frustration, according to an employee who watched the call. After someone asked if the company would continue to have “Meta Days” in 2022, an internal name for paid time off, Mr. Zuckerberg paused and thought aloud about how to respond. the question appropriately, said the employee, who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak.

The CEO then said the company needed to get tough and work harder than before, “turning up the heat” on internal goals and the metrics used to assess employee performance. He said he expects some turnover from employees who don’t meet those targets and that some may leave due to the increased pace.

But Mr. Zuckerberg noted that he is not averse to spending a lot on projects that matter in the long run and that he is not just focused on profit. He cited efforts to build the metaverse with virtual and augmented reality products over the next 10+ years.

In his memo, Cox also said Meta continued to focus on investing in Reels — the TikTok-like video product widely featured on Instagram — as well as improving artificial intelligence to help promote discovery of popular posts on Facebook and Instagram. Meta is also focusing on making money from its messaging apps and looking for more opportunities in e-commerce sales on the platform, he said.

Meta’s internal recruiters said after a surge of new hires during the pandemic, the company’s recruiting has slowed this year. The company was hiring mainly for lifesaving positions and many positions were filled internally, said two recruiters who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

There are currently no plans to lay off people, said two people with knowledge of the company’s plans, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak. In the chat channels that accompanied the live stream of the employee meeting, some workers said they were celebrating the reduction in ‘dead weight’ after they felt the ‘bar had been lowered’ for hiring during the pandemic, according to comments that were described to The Times by one of the employees.

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