SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Meta employees: Get ready for the tough times ahead.
In an internal meeting Thursday, Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said the Silicon Valley company was facing one of the “worst recessions we’ve seen in recent history,” according to copies of his remarks that were shared with The New York Times. . He told Meta’s 77,800 workers that they should prepare to do more work with fewer resources and that their performance would be rated more intensely than before.
Zuckerberg added that the company, which owns Facebook, Instagram and other apps, was lowering its hiring goals. Meta now plans to add 6,000 to 7,000 new engineers this year, down from the previous goal of about 10,000, he said. In some areas, hiring will stop altogether, especially junior engineers, although the number of employees will increase in other parts of the business, he said.
“I think some of you might decide that this place is not for you, and that self-selection is fine for me,” 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 harshest he has made to employees, reflect the degree of difficulty Meta faces with its business. The company, which for years has been going from strength to strength financially, has been in an unfamiliar position this year due to difficulties. While it enjoyed strong growth in the early stages of the pandemic, it has more recently faced turmoil in the global economy as inflation and interest rates rise.
That economic uncertainty is hitting as Meta navigates the tumult in its core business of social media and advertising. Zuckerberg declared last year that his company, which was renamed Facebook’s Meta, was making a long-term bet to build the immersive world of the so-called metaverse. He has been spending billions of dollars on the effort, which has dented Meta’s profits.
The company is also dealing with a hit to its advertising business after Apple made privacy changes to its mobile operating system that limit the amount of data Facebook and Instagram can collect about their users.
As a result, Meta has posted consecutive profit declines this year, the first time this has happened in more than a decade. In February, after a dismal financial report, Meta’s shares plunged 26 percent and its market value plummeted more than $230 billion in what was the company’s biggest one-day drop. In March, the company told employees it was cutting or eliminating free services like laundry and dry cleaning.
In a memo to employees on Thursday, Chris Cox, Meta’s chief product officer, echoed Zuckerberg’s sentiments, saying the company was in “serious times” and the “economic headwinds are fierce,” according to a copy of the memorandum that was read. to The Times.
“We need to run smoothly in a slower growing environment, where teams shouldn’t expect large influxes of new engineers and budgets,” Cox’s memo said. “We must prioritize more ruthlessly, be mindful of measuring and understanding what drives impact, invest in the efficiency and speed of developers within the company, and operate more efficient, more efficient teams with better execution”.
Zuckerberg and Cox’s comments to employees were reported before by Reuters. A Meta spokesman said Cox’s memo echoed what the company had said publicly on earnings calls and that he was being candid about its “challenges” and “opportunities.”
In Thursday’s internal meeting, which was held via video conference, Zuckerberg’s comments appeared to stem from a sense of frustration, according to an employee who viewed the call. After someone asked if the company would still have “Metadays” in 2022, an internal name for paid time off vacations, Zuckerberg paused and pondered aloud how to answer the question appropriately, the employee said, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak.
The CEO then said the company needed to crack down and work harder than before, “turning up the heat” on internal goals and the metrics used to rate employee performance. He said he expected some degree of turnover from employees who didn’t meet those goals and that some might leave as a result of the increased pace.
But Zuckerberg noted that he wasn’t averse to spending big on projects that matter in the long run and that he wasn’t focused solely on profit. He cited efforts to build the metaverse with virtual and augmented reality products over the next 10 years or more.
Mr. Cox in his memo also said that Meta was continuing to focus on investing in Reels, the TikTok-like video product featured heavily on Instagram, as well as improving artificial intelligence to help drive discovery of popular posts on Instagram. Facebook and Instagram. Meta is also working to make money from its messaging apps and is looking for more opportunities in e-commerce sales across the platform, he said.
Meta’s internal recruiters said that after a surge in new hires during the pandemic, the company’s recruiting slowed this year. The company was hiring primarily for vital positions, with many positions being filled internally, said 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 anonymously because they were not authorized to speak. In chat room channels that accompanied the livestream of the employee meeting, some workers said they were celebrating reducing “deadweight” after feeling the “bar was lowered” for hiring over the course of the meeting. pandemic, according to comments that were described. to The Times by one of the employees.