Three months ago, Meta touted recent wins in detecting the increasingly robust campaigns by Russia-based operatives to covertly influence world affairs in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg told reporters during a media briefing that despite slashing spending as the company lays off thousands, Meta was well positioned to keep up the fight against foreign influence campaigns, misinformation and other problematic content.
Meta could both become more efficient and offer “the industry’s leading integrity and safety measures across the company,” he said.
Now, Clegg’s optimism is being put to the test as the social media giant prepares this month to hand out a new round of pink slips to workers in its business divisions, including teams that handle content moderation, policy and regulatory issues.
Affected employees are expected to be notified Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter, part of a months-long downsizing effort.
Meta’s human resources chief Lori Goler on Tuesday afternoon confirmed the cuts in an internal memo, according to a copy of her remarks viewed by The Washington Post.
Wednesday would be “another difficult day,” Goler wrote, with the company announcing layoffs in business divisions and tech teams that had not faced previous cuts. The company will share reorganization plans of some teams and notify some workers they are getting a new manager, according to Goler’s memo.
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At least a half-dozen current and former Meta employees who have worked on trust and safety issues say severe cuts in those divisions could hamper the company’s ability to respond to viral political misinformation, foreign influence campaigns and regulatory challenges. They say they worry that the layoffs — which are expected to hit the company’s business division harder than engineering — could make Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp more dangerous at a time of particularly acute geopolitical concern.
The company will be grappling next year with dozens of elections — including the U.S. presidential vote — while covert influence campaigns from Russia and China have grown more aggressive in their attempts to sway politics in other regions of the world. Governments around the world are passing laws to demand social media companies bend to their political will on content.
“The problem of course is that simultaneously we are going into the election season not just here in the United States, but everywhere else in the world,” said Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “2024 is going to be a massive year for elections and concerns about content moderation peak during election years.”
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement, “We remain focused on advancing our industry-leading integrity efforts and continue to invest in teams and technologies to protect our community.”
Meta is part of a larger trend among tech giants that are cutting back amid a downturn in the industry, joining Google, Amazon and Microsoft in trimming tens of thousands of jobs.
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Meta, in particular, has faced an uptick in competition for advertising dollars and users from the short-form video platform TikTok, while new privacy rules adopted by Apple and broader economic challenges have hurt Meta’s digital advertising business. The company spent heavily over the past few years to build the so-called Metaverse, a term used to describe immersive digital realms that are accessed through augmented and virtual reality.
In total, it said it’s eliminating 21,000 roles, including the latest round of 10,000. Founder Mark Zuckerberg has deemed 2023 to be the “year of efficiency” as he seeks to remake the company to be leaner and flatter.
Meta began bolstering its teams that handle policy and safety issues in particular after negative publicity over the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a political consultancy accessed the personal data of millions of Facebook users, and revelations that Russia used the company’s social networks to influence the 2016 presidential election. Since then, Meta has beefed up its lobbying, content moderation and fact-checking program.
Meta’s artificial intelligence-powered systems and a small army of contract workers handle most of the company’s decisions to take down or leave up certain posts or accounts. But the full-time workers on its trust and safety teams play a critical role in shaping the company’s response to complex political and cultural situations around the world, said the current and former employees, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
A variety of teams work on everything from defining what is rule-breaking content like hate speech to training the algorithms that help flag content to the company’s thousands of third-party contract workers for review. Investigators look for foreign influence campaigns or crime, while others manage relationships with countries and politicians — all of whom help protect the site from further disaster.
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“The nightmare scenario is a steady degradation of the processes that nobody thinks about because they work,” said one employee.
Meta said it cut about 4,000 workers from its tech divisions last month, The Post has reported, which means that roughly 6,000 workers in nontechnical roles will have likely been laid off by the end of the third wave of cuts. Zuckerberg said in March that he wanted to return the company to “a more optimal ratio of engineers to other roles.”
“It’s important for all groups to get leaner and more efficient to enable our technology groups to get as lean and efficient as possible,” he said in a statement at the time. “We will make sure we continue to meet all our critical and legal obligations as we find ways to operate more efficiently.”
Meta’s cuts may mean it has fewer people to handle emerging threats or complex policy questions that the company doesn’t want to defer to its artificial intelligence-powered systems and lower-level content moderation contractors.
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Brian Fishman, who once led Meta’s efforts to fight terrorism and hate organizations on the social networks, said the company was often too slow to make important policy decisions.
For instance, Meta employees debated for years how to handle users who use the Arabic term shaheed, which is often translated to mean martyr, to describe terrorists or other groups of people on its dangerous organizations and individuals list, he said. The company bans explicit praise for anyone or group on that list.
Earlier this year, Meta requested that the Oversight Board, an independent group of experts that reviews the company’s content moderation decisions, give it an opinion on the matter. Fishman said that’s a welcome development in the company’s years-long debate.
“One of the reasons I left is because that organization had gotten slow and bloated and it was very hard to make a decision,” he said.
Meta plans to lay off 10,000 workers, with cuts beginning in HR
Zuckerberg argues that the company’s November workforce cuts proved that having fewer people means Meta can make decisions more quickly and more nimbly. He said that he underestimated the “indirect costs” of adding projects that seemed to bring value to the company but ultimately took away from other priorities.
Meta will need expertise as authoritarian governments increasingly issue legal demands asking for certain types of content to be taken down or pass new rules that aim to give them more control over the company’s content moderation practices, some of the employees said.
And regional expertise could be particularly helpful next year when there are at least 65 elections in 54 countries including in the United States and India in which content has the power to spark offline harm, said Katie Harbath, a former policy director at Meta and current tech policy consultant.
“You’re going to have these candidates really pushing the envelope when it comes to stoking potential violence or potential hate speech,” she said.
Facebook pivoted to the metaverse. Now it wants to show off its AI.
Recent innovations in generative artificial intelligence, a form of the technology that can produce humanlike original content, means it’s now much easier to create sophisticated fake images or text that could stoke political confusion during volatile news environments.
Major technology companies such as Meta have not substantially altered their policies against “deepfakes” since 2019. While Meta has said it is making a big push to “turbocharge” its investment in artificial intelligence, the company has already laid off employees who worked on policy issues related to artificial intelligence, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions.
“I think we’re going to see misinformation and disinformation on a level and a scale that we haven’t really seen in the past because the ease of producing that kind of material is just accelerating,” said Fishman. “Capacity at these companies is really, really critical.”
The layoffs are part of Meta's so-called year of efficiency, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg pitched as necessary for the company to slim down and become more nimble amid a challenging economy and weakened digital advertising market.Is META done with layoffs? ›
Meta (META) conducted its latest round of layoffs this week, the final phase of a series of cuts outlined in March by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This brings the total number of employees let go from the company since November 2022 to 21,000.What is the first round of layoffs for META? ›
Meta's first round of layoffs in the fall hit more than 11,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce at the time, and preceded other major tech companies shedding thousands of employees after a pandemic-led boom in digital advertising and cloud computing.How many layoffs does META have? ›
Over multiple rounds of layoffs, Meta announced plans to eliminate roughly 21,000 jobs, a mass downsizing that had an outsized effect on the company's trust and safety work.Is Meta laying off more employees? ›
Meta laid off 5,100 more employees on Wednesday in its third round of mass cuts in the past three months, according to executive remarks in a company meeting on Thursday.What would Meta layoffs mean for Zuckerberg's bold metaverse plan? ›
The layoffs, if they materialize, would also come hot on the heels of major job cuts at Twitter, with the microblogging site slashing over half of its more than 7,500 employees last week. The Meta cuts would be smaller on a percentage basis than those announced at Twitter, according to the Wall Street Journal.Who gets cut first in layoffs? ›
According to new data from BambooHR, a human resources software company, 65% of HR professionals typically approach layoffs by eliminating newly hired workers first.How do you tell if layoffs are coming to your company? ›
- 1) Hiring and expenses freeze. When the economy is booming, you may see new employees joining your company every week. ...
- 2) Eliminating products or programs. ...
- 3) Change in management styles. ...
- 4) The company's trends and patterns. ...
- 5) Payroll bloat.
- An ex-Meta employee revealed receiving layoff mail at 4 am.
- Meta fired 10,000 people in February this year.
- The company fired 11,000 people in November 2022.
Meta's continued layoffs are part of Zuckerberg's plans for a “year of efficiency” in 2023. The layoffs are a reminder that after nearly two decades of almost uninterrupted growth, major tech companies like Meta are now undergoing an intense period of cutbacks and belt-tightening measures.
Meta will lay off 10,000 more workers and incur restructuring costs ranging from $3 billion to $5 billion, the company announced Tuesday, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg warning economic instability could continue for “many years.”Who are the highest paid Meta employees? ›
At Meta, the highest paid job is a Group Product Manager at $285,000 annually and the lowest is a Receptionist at $40,000 annually. Average Meta salaries by department include: Finance at $109,358, Customer Support at $108,745, Design at $157,834, and Marketing at $107,718. Half of Meta salaries are above $149,718.Is Meta a stable company to work for? ›
This rating has been stable over the past 12 months. How satisfied are employees working at Meta? 71% of Meta employees would recommend working there to a friend based on Glassdoor reviews. Employees also rated Meta 3.6 out of 5 for work life balance, 3.7 for culture and values and 4.0 for career opportunities.Are Meta employees happy? ›
An internal Meta survey from October that Recode obtained reflects these employees' perspectives: Only 28 percent of employees responding to the survey gave a favorable response about their optimism for the company, and 58 percent were favorable toward the company overall.Will there be layoffs in 2023? ›
The running total of layoffs for 2023 based on full months to date is 168,243, according to Layoffs.fyi. Tech layoffs conducted to date this year currently exceed the total number of tech layoffs in 2022, according to the data in the tracker.How does Mark Zuckerberg treat his employees? ›
Zuckerberg sees all employees as equal and encourages them to share ideas. By removing hierarchies, he is also simultaneously removing barriers between executives and other employees. Furthermore, he has legitimacy and is deeply involved with the company.Who owns Meta? ›
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder, chairman and CEO of Meta, which he originally founded as Facebook in 2004. Mark is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Meta's services and development of its core technology and infrastructure.Did Meta give thousands of employees poor performance reviews? ›
Facebook parent company Meta gave thousands of employees poor reviews, indicating that more layoffs could be coming after the company laid off 13 percent of its staff in November 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 17. The poor reviews come after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 2023 would be a "year of efficiency."What jobs are most at risk for layoffs? ›
- Information services.
- Transportation and warehousing.
The first to get cut during a layoff will usually be the newest employees. This could be the employee that started yesterday at a company with high turnover, or one that started two years ago if other employees have been with the company for 10+ years.
ZipRecruiter's data shows that job cuts were mostly in finance, construction, technology and real estate, relative to their share of the overall workforce. Within each industry, workers in customer service, sales, IT and operations were more likely to be laid off than other functions.What month do most layoffs occur? ›
January is historically the busiest month for job cuts.What day of the week do most layoffs happen? ›
While opinions are divided, many HR experts say that Tuesday is the best day for laying off employees (all things considered), with Wednesday and Thursday being the second-best days. Employees who have been laid off report that once they were told they were being laid off, they couldn't process any more information.Do companies hire after layoffs? ›
As with any business and economic cycle, the market will swing back and the companies that recently went through layoffs will likely be looking to hire again. Some companies might even need to fill roles at the same time as layoffs, just in different areas of the business.Is Meta hiring freeze? ›
Meta Platforms, the corporate parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, will cut another 10,000 jobs and undergo a hiring freeze in what CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling the “Year of Efficiency” for the tech giant.What roles were cut at Meta? ›
Meta has begun laying off staff in some technical roles as part of its latest round of job cuts, the company confirms. Employees in fields like software engineering, graphics programming and gameplay development were among those affected Wednesday, according to LinkedIn posts.Why are companies laying off employees? ›
Businesses look to cut costs to cover their increased expenses due to inflation. Laying off employees is typically one of the first cost-cutting measures because they are one of the largest company expenses.Is Meta laying off another 10000 workers? ›
Facebook's parent company Meta is laying off another 10,000 workers NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer talks to Wall Street Journal reporter Sam Schechner about the layoffs which will cut about 12% of Meta's workforce. This round follows a previous cut of 11,000 jobs.What is the lowest salary at Meta? ›
The average Meta monthly salary ranges from approximately $6,700 per month for Technical Program Manager to $14,230 per month for Senior Operations Manager.How much does Meta pay l6? ›
Based on feedback from 69 Meta employees about sign on bonuses, 38% said “I didn't receive a signing bonus.”In the case of employees at Meta who did receive a bonus the most common sign on bonus received was $10,000+.When did meta layoffs start? ›
Over two rounds of layoffs, in November and March, Meta said it will be cutting about 21,000 jobs. After plummeting in 2022, Meta's stock price has bounced back this year on optimism that massive cost cuts will boost profitability.What is the second round of layoffs at Meta? ›
The 10,000 job reductions mark the second recent round of significant job cuts at Meta. The company said in November that it was eliminating approximately 13% of its workforce, or 11,000 jobs, in the single largest round of cuts in its history.How long is the hiring process for Meta? ›
Here's what you need to know: Facebook (Meta)'s interview process can take up to eight weeks, and there are seven steps: resume screen, recruiter call, phone screen(s), onsite interviews, interviewer debrief, hiring committee, and salary negotiation.What is first in last out layoffs? ›
Last in First Out (LIFO, or otherwise known as "Last One Hired is the First One Fired") is a policy often used by school districts and other employers to prioritize layoffs by seniority. Under LIFO layoff rules, junior teachers and other employees lose their jobs before senior ones.What department is Meta laying off? ›
Meta employees in operations, project management, marketing, policy, communications and risk analytics announced on LinkedIn Wednesday morning that they had been laid off.What are Meta layoffs packages? ›
Meta promised a severance package when laid off 11,000 employees. It guaranteed to pay a base severance of 16 weeks plus an additional two weeks for each year of service. The digital behemoth added that Meta would provide health care help by covering the costs.How much does Meta pay new hire? ›
The starting pay at Meta in California is around $129,000 per year, or $62 per hour.How many rounds of interviews are there in Meta? ›
Meta's on-site interviewing includes four to five interviews split into separate rounds. There are three interview categories: Ninja (coding), Pirate (systems or product design), and Jedi (culture fit and behavioral).How often do you get paid at Meta? ›
You will receive your payouts once a month, subject to compliance with all applicable terms and policies at all times, including through the time of payment. Final payments are calculated at the end of each month and paid out approximately 21 days later.
Who Usually Gets Laid Off First and When? Newer employees that have been in their role up to a year tend to get laid off first, according to a 2022 study by LinkedIn and Business Insider.Why being laid off is good? ›
In some ways, a layoff can be positive for your career journey because it can help you leave an unfulfilling job that you were too nervous to quit. When you're forced out of a work environment that you're no longer thriving in, it can be the perfect time to re-evaluate your career.What positions get laid off first? ›
According to research conducted by workforce intelligence company Revelio Labs, companies tend to select their junior employees to be laid off first. Most employees getting laid off right now have only spent about a year with their organization.