“This will add up to a meaningful cultural shift in how we operate,” he said. The company will focus on a smaller number of “high priority” areas, he said, including artificial intelligence, advertising and the metaverse.
Meta began notifying European-based employees of the cuts during their morning, with those retaining their jobs receiving emails just minutes after those who were laid off, three employees said. As the Silicon Valley headquarters began waking up Wednesday, employees described tense hours as people stared at their inboxes awaiting news.
For those who lost their job in the United States, Meta said it would pay severance of 16 weeks of their base pay, along with two additional weeks for every year they worked at the company. Laid-off workers and their families will have health care paid for six months.
Meta joins other tech companies, such as Snap, that have laid off employees as economic conditions have grown more challenging. While many of these companies boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, some of the largest ones have reported financial results in recent weeks that showed they are feeling the fallout of global economic jitters. Last week, Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, laid off roughly half the company’s 7,500 employees, saying the social media service was losing $4 million a day.
“These cycles of boom and bust are incredibly destructive within organizations because people employed there feel like they don’t know where they stand,” said Sandra J. Sucher, a management professor at Harvard. By rapidly hiring across all departments during the pandemic, Mr. Zuckerberg had set up his company to need reductions in staff, she said.
Mr. Zuckerberg has been telegraphing that Meta will have to clamp down on costs, starting with cutting back on many of the lavish perks that employees once enjoyed. In March, he announced that the company was trimming or eliminating free services like laundry and dry cleaning. He also scaled back free dinner offerings, making it harder for employees to take home dinner for themselves and their families.
In July, Mr. Zuckerberg warned employees that the company was experiencing “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” and in September he announced a hiring freeze.