Meta announced it was laying off more than 11,000 employees Wednesday morning, slashing jobs in its recruiting department and refocusing its remaining team on AI discovery, ads, and its investment in the metaverse.
"I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a message to employees that was also posted online. "I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted."
The layoffs, which The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported were coming, affect some 13% of Meta's workforce as the company scrambles to recover from the catastrophic collapse of its stock price. Zuckerberg said the company is also shrinking its real estate footprint in order to contain costs, and extending its current hiring freeze through the first quarter of 2023.
Zuckerberg attributed the layoffs to the company's enormous growth at the start of the pandemic. "Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended," Zuckerberg wrote. "I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected."
The Meta layoffs come less than a week after Elon Musk cut a large portion of Twitter's employees overnight. But in stark contrast to Twitter's layoffs, during which employees found themselves suddenly locked out of work devices without any explanation that they'd been laid off, Zuckerberg detailed a number of the benefits laid-off Meta employees will have going forward, including 16 weeks of severance, six months of health insurance coverage, three months of career services, and immigration support. Employees will also receive their RSU vesting next week and be paid for uncompleted time off.
Zuckerberg acknowledged "this is a sad moment" in the company's history, but tried to sound an optimistic note about Meta's future. "I believe we are deeply underestimated as a company today. Billions of people use our services to connect, and our communities keep growing," he wrote. "I’m confident that if we work efficiently, we’ll come out of this downturn stronger and more resilient than ever."