Facebook-parent Meta is said to be planning the first significant layoffs in its history as the company grapples with a shrinking business and fears of a looming recession.
The job cuts are expected to impact thousands of workers and could begin as early as this week, the Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Meta has a headcount of more than 87,000, according to a September SEC filing.
Meta declined to comment on the report.
On a conference call last month to discuss its earnings results for the third quarter, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he expects the company to end 2023 “as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.”
The possible cuts come as tightened advertiser budgets and Apple’s iOS privacy changes have weighed on Meta’s core business. The company last month posted its second quarterly revenue decline and reported that its profit was cut in half from the prior year. The drop in profitability is largely driven by the billions Meta is spending to build a future version of the internet called the metaverse that likely remains years away.
Once boasting a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion last year, Meta is now valued at about $250 billion. (After reports of the job cuts, Meta’s stock opened more than 5% higher on Monday morning.)
Meta is far from the only tech company said to be rethinking staffing. In a stunning shift for an industry sometimes thought of as untouchable, a number of tech companies have announced hiring freezes or job cuts in recent months, often after having seen rapid growth during the pandemic.
Last week, rideshare company Lyft said it was axing 13% of employees, and payment-processing firm Stripe said it was cutting 14% of its staff. The same day, e-commerce giant Amazon said it was implementing a pause on corporate hiring.
Facebook-rival Twitter made sweeping cuts across the company on Friday under its new owner, Elon Musk. The cuts impacted its ethical AI, marketing and communication, search and public policy team, among other departments.