Nov 9 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) said on Wednesday it will let go of 13% of its workforce, or more than 11,000 employees, in one of the biggest layoffs this year as the Facebook parent battles soaring costs and a weak advertising market.
The mass layoffs, first in Meta’s 18-year history, follow thousands of job cuts at other major tech companies including Elon Musk-owned Twitter and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).
The pandemic-led boom that boosted tech companies and their valuations has turned into a bust this year in the face of decades-high inflation and rapidly rising interest rates.
“Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a message to employees.
“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
Meta, whose shares have lost more than two-thirds of their value so far this year, rose nearly 3% before the bell.
The company also plans to cut discretionary spending and extend its hiring freeze through the first quarter. But it did not disclose the expected cost savings from the moves.
Meta will pay 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service, as well as all remaining paid time off, as a part of the severance package, the company said.
Impacted employees will also receive their shares that were set to vest on Nov. 15 and healthcare coverage for six months, according to the company.
Zuckerberg is among several top US executives who have this year sounded the alarm on an upcoming recession.
Some of Meta’s wounds, however, have been self-inflicted.
A pricey bet on metaverse, a shared virtual world, has seen the company forecast as much as $100 billion in expenses for 2023. That has drawn skepticism from investors who are losing patience with investments that Zuckerberg himself expects a decade to bear fruit.
The company is also grappling with stiff competition from TikTok and privacy changes from Apple Inc (AAPL.O), while being in the crosshairs of regulators around the globe.
Meta had 87,314 employees as of the end of September.
Reporting by Aditya Soni, Nivedita Balu and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta
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