Mark Zuckerberg barbecued in Meta town hall after layoffs


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of the social media giant during a staff-wide meeting Thursday morning, two days after announcing the company would cut 10,000 employees in a months-long restructuring and downsizing effort.

Zuckerberg was asked a question about how employees are expected to trust the company’s management after two rounds of layoffs. He said he would expect to be evaluated based on the company’s performance and transparency about its mission, but that leaders should be allowed to change their thinking, according to an audio livestream of the town hall obtained by The Washington Post.

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“I would guess that the way people would judge whether you trust me and want to work in this company is whether we succeed in making progress toward the overall stated goals,” Zuckerberg said at the town hall. “I think a lot of this is about the results we’re able to deliver.”

Zuckerberg also spoke during the hour-long meeting about why the company announced an organization-wide restructuring and layoff plan four months after the CEO told staff at a company-wide meeting in November that he did not anticipate having to make those kinds of cuts again for the “foreseeable future”.

The CEO said what ultimately changed was that he believes the overall financial pressures facing the company will last for a while, and that he saw the cuts in November seemed to increase the company’s efficiency.

“But I think it’s a fair question,” he said.

Meta declined to comment.

Zuckerberg’s comments come two days after he announced the company would lay off more employees and close 5,000 open roles over the next few months as part of a larger effort to cut costs and flatten the company’s hierarchy in the face of mounting pressure from the company. The latest layoffs build on workforce cuts in November that cut 11,000 jobs, or about 13 percent of Meta’s workforce, in the first widespread layoffs in company history.

Zuckerberg proclaimed earlier this year that 2023 would be the “year of efficiency” after months of declining revenue. The social media giant, which makes most of its money from digital advertising, is facing increased competition for ad dollars and users from newer players in the social media market, such as the short-form video network TikTok. The company has also acknowledged that it overestimated how much the e-commerce market would grow after pandemic-era restrictions were rolled back.

During the town hall Thursday, Zuckerberg was also asked about the future prospects for remote work.

The company noted Tuesday that an early analysis showed that engineers who joined the company as an in-person employee and then transferred to a remote position or who remained in the office performed better, on average, than people who joined the company externally.

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Zuckerberg did not rule out creating new rules to require people to return to the office for a certain amount of time, but said it would be “an ongoing conversation.”

He added that the company has made the decision to put most telecommuting on hold for now.

Another employee’s question revolved around how Meta’s employees could be productive when the threat of layoffs and project cuts loomed over their heads.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that announcing the layoff plans ahead of time creates a period of uncertainty, but said that “it’s not like we can just pause work while we figure it out.”

Ultimately, he said, he thought it was better for employees to hear about the plans in advance.

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