Mark Zuckerberg prepares meta employees for a tougher 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Meta employees: Prepare for tough times.

In an internal meeting on Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, said the Silicon Valley company was facing one of the “worst downturns we’ve seen in recent history,” according to copies of his comments that were shared. The New York Times. He told Meta’s 77,800 workers that they must prepare to do more work with fewer resources and that their performances will be evaluated more intensively than before.

Mr. Zuckerberg added that the company, which owns Facebook, Instagram and other apps, is scaling back its hiring targets. Meta now plans to bring on 6,000 to 7,000 new engineers this year, up from a previous target of about 10,000, he said. Hiring in some areas will stop altogether, particularly for junior engineers, but headcount will increase in other parts of the business, he said.

“I think some of you may decide that this is not the place for you and that self-selection is fine with me,” Mr. Zuckerberg said on the call. “Realistically, there are probably a lot of people in the company who shouldn’t be here.”

The CEO’s comments, which were some of the sharpest he has made to employees, reflect the degree of difficulty Meta is facing with its business. The company, which has been financially strong for years, has been in an unknown position this year as it has struggled. While it enjoyed strong growth in the early parts of the pandemic, it has recently struggled with upheaval in the global economy as inflation and interest rates rise.

That economic uncertainty comes as Meta navigates turmoil in its core social network and advertising businesses. Mr. Zuckerberg said last year that his company, renamed Meta after Facebook, is making a long-term bet on the so-called To create the immersive world of the Metaverse. It’s spending billions of dollars on efforts that have slowed Meta’s profits.

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

As a result, Meta reported a decline in profits this year, the first in more than a decade. In February, after a dismal financial report, Meta’s shares plunged 26 percent, sending its market value down more than $230 billion, the company’s biggest one-day loss. In March, the company told employees it was reducing or eliminating free services such as laundry and dry cleaning.

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

“We need to operate seamlessly in a slow-growth environment where teams don’t have to wait for a large influx of new engineers and budgets,” Mr. Cox said in a memo. “We must prioritize more relentlessly, be thoughtful about measuring and understanding what drives impact, invest in developer efficiency and speed within the company, and operate with leaner, leaner, better engaging teams.”

The comments by Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Cox were previously reported to staff by Reuters. A Meta spokesman said Mr Cox’s memo echoed what the company had said publicly in earnings calls and that it was being honest about its “challenges” and “opportunities”.

At Thursday’s internal meeting, which was held via video conference, Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments appeared to be disappointing, according to one employee watching the call. After someone asked whether the company would continue “Meta Days,” the internal name for paid vacations, in 2022, Mr. Zuckerberg paused and spoke aloud about how to properly answer the question, said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak. .

The CEO then said the company needed to tighten up and work harder than it had before, “turning up the heat” on internal goals and metrics used to measure employee performance. He said he expected some turnover from employees who weren’t meeting those goals, and that some might leave as a result of the increased pace.

But Mr. Zuckerberg indicated that he was not opposed to spending heavily on long-term important projects and was not focused solely on profits. He cited efforts to build a metaverse with virtual and augmented reality products over the next 10-plus years.

Mr. Cox also said in his memo that Meta continues to focus on investing in Reels — a TikTok-like video product heavily featured on Instagram — as well as improving artificial intelligence to help discover popular posts on Facebook and Instagram. Meta is also working to monetize its messaging apps and is looking for more opportunities in e-commerce sales on the platform, he said.

Meta’s internal recruiters said the company’s hiring has slowed this year after a spike in new hires during the pandemic. The company mostly hired for vital positions and many of the roles were filled internally, said the two recruiters, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

There are no current plans to lay off people, said two people with knowledge of the company’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak. In chat room feeds that accompanied the live stream of the staff meeting, some workers said they were celebrating shedding “dead weight” after they felt the pandemic had “lowered the bar” for hiring, according to the comments. By one of the staff to The Times.

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