By Jon Swartz
Mark Zuckerberg has issued a chilling message to Meta Platforms Inc. employees: The company faces one of the “worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” which will necessitate a scaling back of hiring and allocation of resources.
The dire economic warning was delivered during an internal videoconference meeting on Thursday for Meta’s /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite META +5.77% 77,800 workers, according to a New York Times report. To underscore the ominous message, Zuckerberg told employees that they should expect to do more with fewer resources and that their performance would be more aggressively graded.
“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Zuckerberg said on a call, according to the Times. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”
Buttressing Zuckerberg’s comments, Meta Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said in a separate memo that Meta faces “serious times” and economic “headwinds are fierce.”
The most obvious manifestation will be fewer hires — Facebook’s parent company now intends to add 6,000 to 7,000 engineers this year, down from an initial goal of 10,000, the Times reported. A former Facebook employee confirmed to MarketWatch that the Silicon Valley company has significantly reduced its hiring plans in recent months.
Meta’s advertising business has been badly battered by a change in privacy settings to Apple Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +2.47% mobile operating system, limiting the amount of user data that can be collected by Facebook and Instagram. Consequently, Meta has posted two straight quarterly profit declines for the first time in a decade. Meta lost some $230 billion in market value — its worst one-day hit ever — after it posted desultory results in February.
At the same time, Meta is pursuing a risky strategic pivot to the immersive world of the metaverse, which prompted the company’s name change last year.
Meta is one of several tech companies facing choppy economic waters as it navigates through inflation, a war in Ukraine and supply-chain issues. In recent days, Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +3.88% , Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +6.01% , Unity Software Inc. /zigman2/quotes/221035391/composite U +9.89% , Coinbase Global Inc. /zigman2/quotes/225893452/composite COIN +7.28% , Stitch Fix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208173073/composite SFIX +5.09% and Redfin Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203726414/composite RDFN +5.53% have announced deep job cuts.