Meta/Facebook prepares largest wave of layoffs in company history

News that Twitter is laying off 3,800 employees may pale in comparison to the wave of layoffs being prepared by Meta, the company behind Facebook.

Feeling the fallout from Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to develop a virtual reality-based Facebook replacement, Meta is reportedly about to sweeten losses already announced to investors with an aggressive corporate restructuring campaign aimed at laying off a not insignificant portion of its 87,000-strong workforce, spread across the company’s various arms such as Facebook’s Instagram and Whatsapp.

The restructuring plan is said to be justified by difficulties in the industry and the global economic slowdown. CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself anticipates that current teams will remain at their current level or shrink over the next year. He also predicts that revenues for 2023 will remain at about the same level, or slightly lower than in 2022.

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The main problem for Mark Zuckerberg is that ad-supported platforms like Facebook and Google are suffering acutely from shrinking ad budgets. And as Meta is a company heavily dependent on advertising, but at the same time engaged in extravagant investment with the development of the new Metavers VR, the profit outlook for the company’s shareholders is rather bleak. Adding to the pressure already felt by the company, the competition offered by TikTok and the aggressive privacy policies imposed by Apple undermine any initiative to return the company to profit.

Unless truly innovative alternatives are found, the decline in revenue for companies focused exclusively on online advertising could mark the end of an era in which online platforms have experienced virtually unlimited growth while simultaneously managing to offer their services completely free to end consumers.

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