Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg embraces a new reality. His company — which for more than a decade has reaped more and more profits, users and stock market gains year after year — is no longer growing so fast.
“We’re in a different world, and we needed to make some changes. But I made those calls,” Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks before addressing employee questions in a staff-wide Q&A Thursday morning.
Zuckerberg’s comments come the day after The company laid off 4,000 employees As part of the CEO scheme “General Efficiency”. These belt-tightening measures are just the latest in a series of layoffs, with more scheduled for May. In a recording of the meeting obtained by Vox, Zuckerberg acknowledged employees’ “anger and frustration” over the continuing waves of mass layoffs and answered several questions about whether leadership is responsible for the company’s current position.
“People want to point out who this mistake was or what to blame or what the mistakes are,” Zuckerberg said at the meeting. “But on some level, it’s kind of normal to not be in hypergrowth forever. When you’re not, you want to change the moment.”
Even if a company goes from growing 40 to 50 percent annually to 10 or 15, Zuckerberg said, “that’s great too” — as long as it can adapt.
The exchange was a reflective moment for Zuckerberg, who was trying to change Meta’s work culture towards greater efficiency For months now it seems to be setting Meta as entering a new chapter in its history. The 38-year-old has said repeatedly that the company operates under a different “operating model” — one with tighter budgets, slower hiring and fewer layers of management.
This new rhetoric is a sign of how much Mita’s fortunes changed As the company formerly known as Facebook enjoyed the heyday of unstoppable growth and free spending. In recent years, he has faced Facebook and Instagram Stiff competition from TikTokAnd Shrinking advertising budgetsAnd organizational pressures that slowed business. Meanwhile, the company’s long-term bet on the metaverse is still far from becoming a reality. “Last year was a wake-up call, our growth slowed dramatically — the first time we had negative growth year-over-year,” Zuckerberg said. “And while I expect that we will go forward, we will grow at a more normal rate.”
Zuckerberg also confirmed some previously unreported details about the layoffs: He said twenty percent of directors are being laid off, in order to “squash” the company, and other directors are being asked to change jobs to become individual shareholders.
In the Q&A, Zuckerberg repeatedly took charge of layoffs, answered difficult questions, and at one point expressed some personal regrets.
“Looking back, obviously, do I wish I saw some of these trends sooner and didn’t have to?” He said, referring to layoffs. “Of course. Of course.”
But Zuckerberg largely blamed factors outside of his control for the meta cuts, saying, “The last few years have been kind of an unprecedented rollercoaster with everything related to Covid, macroeconomics, wars, different things. So I think having a little bit of humility, Or what people can predict and understand in advance—I wish I had—but I know there were plenty of other people in the same area, too.”
The real “bug,” Zuckerberg argued, would continue to act as if Meta was still in a period of “hypergrowth for much longer.” A lot of “other peers in the tech industry probably do,” he said [that] By not making such big alterations.”
At the end of the call, Zuckerberg tried to end the call on an optimistic note, explaining that Meta — which he said is still invested in the metaverse and AI — will lead these technologies, in part because of the company’s massive reach. Meta apps, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, are used by more than 3 billion people every day.
“I think when this finally settles down, we’ll be in a better position to continue executing what I think is one of the most transformative times for the industry in terms of developing new technologies,” Zuckerberg said. Meta, he said, is well-suited “to be made into products on a scale that no one else can access anywhere else.”
The question is whether this new era of normal growth will be enough to keep the Meta in the future metaverse Zuckerberg promised.