Speed Reads

Cutting Costs

Is the Metaverse to blame for Meta's layoff of 11,000 employees?

Layoffs in the tech industry continued Wednesday, as Facebook's parent company, Meta, announced it was parting ways with more than 11,000 employees, around 13 percent of the brand's staff. 

In a letter announcing the decision, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg blamed the decision on a surge of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the company make strategic errors in investments. "Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected," Zuckerberg said. "Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn ... [has] caused our revenue to be much lower than I'd expected."

Beyond the layoffs, Zuckerberg also said Meta would take additional steps to "become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze." 

These layoffs were not completely unexpected, due to similar layoffs being seen across the industry, and Reuters reported the firings were Meta's first in its 18-year history.

Despite this, some experts looked to the move as a potential warning sign for the company, especially given Zuckerberg's controversial decision to focus significantly on his virtual-reality "Metaverse" as the brand's future. Many pundits decried Zuckerberg's focus as the true cause of the brand's financial issues, given that the company has spent more than $10 billion on the Metaverse this year, per SEC filings.

"This is a company with too much money and too little original or innovative thought," The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo wrote in an op-ed. "It's burning billions on a party that nobody wants to attend."