Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of social media giant Facebook is set to layoff thousands of his employees with the first attempt expected to be announced on Wednesday, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday.
Amid the global economic downturn, Meta the parent company of Facebook, last month lost $80bn (£69bn) in stock market value adding up to more than half a trillion dollars it lost in value this year.
In October, Zuckerberg noted that Meta’s investment in the metaverse is anticipated to take about a decade to pay off, therefore he deems it a priority to freeze hiring, shutter projects, and reorganize teams in order to reduce costs.
He said, “In 2023, we’re going to focus our investments on a small number of high-priority growth areas,” he said. “So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year.”
“In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.” He added.
Zuckerberg’s focus on AI triggers Facebook layoff
According to a recent interview with verge, Mark Zuckerberg said that in the next five years, he wants people to not think of Facebook as a social media company, but as a “metaverse company” dwelling more of its operations in artificial intelligence.
Zuckerberg said Meta’s focus would be on the artificial intelligence powering recommendations for Instagram Reels, advertising and its metaverse exploration.
Although Meta reported that its metaverse division and Reality Lab lost $3.7bn over the past three months and anticipated these losses to “grow significantly year over year” in 2023, Zuckerberg was convinced the “experimental bets” the company was making would pay off.
He said, “Over time, these are going to end up being very important investments for the future of our business,” adding, “This is some of the most historic work we’re doing. People are going to look back on [this] decades from now and talk about the importance of the work that was done here.”
The Facebook CEO further stressed that “This is something that I’m spending a lot of time on, thinking a lot about, we’re working on a ton. And I think it’s just a big part of the next chapter for the work that we’re going to do in the whole industry.”
The shift of focus to the Metaverse Artificial intelligence by Zuckerberg arguably prompted the social media company to opt for laying off employees so as to attain Meta’s anticipated goals in AI.
Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision a successor to mobile internet
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the virtual reality platform will be a successor to the mobile internet on a global scale.
Zuckerberg described the Metaverse and said, “You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it.”
“And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.” He added.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal in October reported that the Metaverse virtual reality universe is currently struggling to meet targets, just a year after Facebook was rebranded as Meta, indicating that they had viewed documents that the company planned to reach 500,000 users on its platform by the end 2022 although currently, it has less than 200,000 users below the reinstated goal of 280,000 users by the end of 2022.
Referring to the Metaverse, Meta’s shareholder Altimeter Capital Management, in an open letter to Zuckerberg pointed out that the company needed to streamline by cutting jobs and capital expenditure.
Altimeter Capital Management further showed concern over Meta’s loss in investor confidence as it ramped up spending and pivoted to the metaverse.
It has however been reported that a majority of metaverse users do not revisit the platform after trying it out as less than ten percent of the worlds in the Metaverse have more than 50 visitors at a time with most worlds on the platform having zero online users.
It should, however, be noted that the potential Facebook layoffs come just days after Elon Musk’s Twitter slashed nearly half of its workforce citing the need to reduce on expenses to attain expected turnover.
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