The most significant job layoffs this week in the tech industry come from Facebook, which will impact employees in these roles the most.
Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, has announced that it will stop developing smart displays and smartwatches. The facebook also announced that over half of the 11,000 job it layoffs this week were from technology departments.
In an employee town hall, the executives at Meta said that they are combining their video and voice chat divisions with messaging teams to create something called Family Foundations. The division is focused on solving challenging technical problems.
The top executives said that the first mass layoff in 18 years resulted in employees of all types and levels being affected, some with high-performance ratings.
You will find few people out of jobs at Meta because we only laid off 54% of our business positions. The majority of the remaining layoffs were in the technology sector, according to chief human resources officer Lori Goler. Local recruiting teams were cut nearly in half, she said.
The executives explained that they didn’t plan to lay off any more employees. However, they said their expenses would have to be cut in other ways, including reviews of contractors, real estate, and the computing infrastructure. They also discussed changes to the product line.
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Smart Gadgets and Devices Cut
Andrew Bosworth, who runs the Reality Labs division, focused on creating a more immersive multimedia environment. He told his employees that they were shutting down work on the Portal intelligent display devices and the smartwatches.
Mitch Williams, a spokesperson for a Facebook-owned company, has confirmed that the company will stop selling Portal devices to consumers and focus on selling them exclusively to businesses.
As the economy started to decline, executives began to make more dramatic and significant changes.
“It just wasn’t worth it to us,” said Bosworth. “Enterprise was just going to take too long, cost too much money and take a lot of time away from the other stuff we’re working on.”
The Portal was not a significant revenue generator and had drawn privacy concerns from potential users. Meta still needed to unveil any smartwatches at the time.
Bosworth said the smartwatch unit would focus instead on augmented reality glasses. Bosworth added that more than half of the investment in Reality Labs went to augmented reality.
Mark Zuckerberg apologized to employees on Friday after announcing that he would cut 13% of staff, explaining it as a failure to see the company’s first wave of revenue.
The pandemic was a time of aggressive hiring by Meta as they sought to keep up with the influx of social media usage by consumers who were housebound. However, business suffered this year as advertisers and consumers started pulling back on spending due to the high costs and rapidly rising interest rates.
The company also faced increased competition from TikTok and lost access to valuable user data that powered its ad targeting systems, among other changes.
“Revenue trends are just a lot lower than what I predicted. This is on me, I got it wrong,” Zuckerberg said.
Though he has been adding engineers to Reality Labs, he said he wouldn’t be hiring “massively” in the future.