Meta workers have reportedly lost faith in Mark Zuckerberg

Toward the end of April, it seemed like Meta — the Silicon Valley social media giant helmed by CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg — had weathered the worst of its ongoing, well-documented chaos. Meta’s stock is on an upswing following a better-than-expected earnings report as it shifts its sights onto AI, the current darling of the tech world.

But a searing report from the Washington Post Sunday chronicling the tumult of the past few years for Zuckerberg and his company — its hard pivot to (and away from) Zuckerberg’s metaverse ambitions, the casualties of the “year of efficiency,” and the effects of the broader market on its lucrative social media and advertising businesses — shows that Meta is still facing many, many challenges during its transition to the new normal.

Much of the disillusionment from workers, according to the Post, comes from the layoffs. Since November, around 21,000 workers are expected to be cut by the company; the Post reports that the possibility of more layoffs, as well as cuts to bonuses and other worker perks, has left workers unhappy. One worker quoted by the Post described the cuts as feeling like “a betrayal.”

And even as Zuckerberg tried to rouse up workers in a recent all-staff meeting by referring to Meta as a “very special place,” according to the Post, workers appeared to be disenchanted by the company’s larger vision.

Workers who anonymously spoke to the Post are also apparently displeased with the company’s slow movement amid shifting industry trends. TikTok is still snagging ad revenue and user attention despite Instagram and Facebook launching Reels, while nearly all tech companies, from social media competitor Snap to fellow multipronged titans Google and Microsoft, are pushing harder into AI for better or worse.

Meanwhile, most of Meta’s bets — on the Meta Quest headsets and the broader metaverse, as well as the video-chatting Portal devices — have floundered. Portal was discontinued in 2022. The Meta Quest devices have not been profitable for the company, with $13.7 billion in operating costs last year, and will soon face stiff competition from Apple, which is purportedly set to launch a VR device of its own during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

Only time will tell if worker morale will improve. Those already announced layoffs are reportedly expected to continue through May.

By Joshua Bote

This article was published in SFGATE

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