The Facebook logo reflected in a puddle at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Facebook Inc., facing intense scrutiny over its business practices, is planning to rebrand the company with a new name that focuses on the metaverse, according to The Verge. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s not just Twitter and Stripe. Salesforce and Meta are now planning major layoffs.

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Breaking news: Salesforce is planning a round of layoffs that could hit as many as 2,500 workers as the software giant faces a new activist investor challenge from Starboard Value. Those plans come on the heels of the large reductions at Twitter, Stripe, and Lyft — and as Meta employees wait for news about the company’s first major layoffs in its 18-year history.

— Allison Levitsky, reporter (email | twitter)

Meta layoffs could be coming soon

Clearly, the Big Tech bloodbath isn’t over. “Many thousands” of Meta employees are expected to lose their jobs Wednesday morning, according to The Wall Street Journal.

  • Meta declined to comment on these apparent plans, and by Tuesday morning, the company hadn’t disclosed any layoffs to California’s Employment Development Department in compliance with the state’s WARN law, a spokesperson for the department told me.
  • There’s no official word on where Meta might concentrate the cuts, or exactly how many employees could be affected, but Mark Zuckerberg reportedly mentioned the recruiting and business teams as part of the layoff in a Tuesday meeting with executives.
  • Gergely Orosz, the author of newsletter The Pragmatic Engineer, tweeted that he’s been told that Meta directors’ Wednesday calendars are full of “slots for layoffs conversations” and that 10% of the company’s engineers could be affected.

Zuck’s comments in the last two weeks hold some clues about his thinking. He also claimed responsibility for over-hiring in his meeting with executives on Tuesday, according to The Journal. And on Meta’s Q3 earnings call on Oct. 26, Zuckerberg defended Meta’s investments in the metaverse, which he said will be “of historic importance” even if they’re far from profitable now.

  • Zuckerberg said Meta would “keep investing heavily” in growing its teams working on its AI discovery engine, its ads and business messaging platforms, and its metaverse initiatives. “The internal indications I’ve seen suggest we’re doing leading work and are on the right track with these investments,” Zuckerberg said on the call.
  • Those comments came two days after Meta investor Altimeter Capital issued an open letter urging Zuckerberg and Meta’s board to cut its head count expense by at least 20%, reduce its annual capital expenditure from $30 billion to $25 billion or less, and restrict its investment in Reality Labs to $5 billion per year.
  • Meta reported a net loss of more than $9.4 billion on Reality Labs between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, up from around $6.9 billion year-over-year.

Zuck was certainly clear on one thing: Most teams in the company will “either stay flat or shrink over the next year.” By the end of 2023, Meta expects to be “roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization” than it is today.

  • The company’s headcount was 87,314 at the end of September, up 28% from a year before.
  • Meta has already been finding other ways to reduce head count, reportedly including departmental reorganizations and rescinding some internship offers.

One question now is whether Zuck will cave to investor pressure and make cuts in Reality Labs. Some analysts have also raised eyebrows at Meta’s spending and direction on AI, said Niya Dragova, the co-founder of Candor, a startup that helps public tech company employees manage their stock-based compensation.

  • “The last earnings call analysis was, honestly, really carnage,” Dragova told me. “They have to show something really drastic and decisive.”

Speaking of drastic

Salesforce’s layoffs are expected to affect roughly 2,000 people or more for “performance” issues, with several hundred others to be placed on a 30-day review, sources told Protocol. Unnamed sources told Axios and CNBC that Salesforce had let go of fewer than 1,000 employees this week, and the company sent a statement to both outlets that its “sales performance process drives accountability” and that “unfortunately, that can lead to some leading the business.”

The company is under pressure from investors to produce a greater return. Last month, Starboard Value disclosed a “significant” stake in Salesforce, Protocol’s Joe Williams reports.

Read the full story.

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Elon in your inbox

Is Elon Musk reading Twitter employees’ Slack DMs? Last week, the new Chief Twit tweeted a screenshot of a DM that Twitter safety and integrity head Yoel Roth sent in May. Now that Musk has access to the company’s trove of internal messages, Twitter’s Slack has tightened up noticeably.

“A group of us were saying, ‘Oh shit, what did I ever say about Elon Musk on Slack?’” one employee told Protocol reporter Lizzy Lawrence. That said, gaining access to employees’ DMs and looking closely at them involves searching through a “massive data dump,” said Matt Haughey, a former senior writer at Slack.

Read the full story.

Twilio’s missteps

Twilio “can’t seem to catch a break,” writes Protocol reporter Aisha Counts. Demand for the SaaS giant’s communication APIs caused it to grow 50% or more over the past several years. In recent months, Twilio has found itself in the same bleak place as many other companies: slowing hiring, laying off 11% of its workforce, and forecasting revenue projections that fall short of its 30% annual growth target.

In an interview with Counts, Chief Operating Officer Khozema Shipchandler owned up to the internal missteps that, along with macroeconomic conditions, led to these outcomes — and revealed how the company plans to move forward.

Read the full story.

Some personnel news

Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating, or sinking. We’re here to help.

⬇️ A Twitter engineer tells the MIT Technology Review that the company’s pared-down workforce isn’t enough to keep the site running properly — and explains how he thinks it will break down.

⬇️ Attrition at Apple is making hard to find a head of hardware design to replace Evans Hankey, who is leaving after three years, Bloomberg reported.

For more news on hiring, firing, and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.

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Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

Twitter employees are sharing photos of themselves sleeping on the floor of the office so they can put in long hours. But maybe they shouldn’t? (HuffPost)

This tech worker doesn’t want to see her manager’s nail appointments in their public work calendar. (The Daily Dot)

Ready to stream your next all-hands to a movie theater? Zoom and AMC are working on a moviehouse videoconferencing offering. (The Verge)

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