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META fires employees in global cull

“I set my alarm for 6 am,” said a META employee, to find out if an early morning email would deliver a pink slip from Menlo Park-based Meta.

Around the Metaverse, at least 4000 employees got the axe along with their morning cup of coffee on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, as Facebook parent company META announced sweeping layoffs in its third round. The company is expected to trim its workforce with another round of job cuts in May.

“Looks like I’ve been let go in this round of the Meta layoffs,” announced ex-employee Jeff Bull Jr. on Twitter, putting queries out for a new job as a Unity developer. The job cuts affected many employees in technical roles and product-facing teams.

“A lot of managers have been made individual contributors,” added a current employee.

Largest layoffs in tech industry since 2001

According to the Kobeissi Letter (TKL) which tracks tech layoffs, the recent spree of cuts from once unassailable tech giants is the largest since November 2022. TKL announced that in 2023, their count officially surpassed 170,000 cuts so far. “Since January 2022, we are nearing 350,000 tech employees laid off. This is the biggest wave of layoffs since 2001.”

META planned multiple layoffs to reduce its global workforce by 10,000 employees in restructuring efforts to become ‘leaner and more efficient,’ said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a November 2022 blog post to employees. He announced a hiring freeze through Q1.

“Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history. I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go.”

Pandemic missteps didn’t pan out

Tech companies like Meta, Facebook, and Google are downsizing after going on a hiring spree during the pandemic as the world moved online and e-commerce surged.

However, predictions of revenue growth that would permanently speed up after the pandemic failed to materialize. Instead, increased competition, macroeconomic downturns, and ad loss caused a drop in revenue.

“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that,” admitted Zuckerberg.

On Twitter, Shobit Shrivastava noted, “At this point, layoffs in Meta look more like Zuck is compensating for the Metaverse debacle than anything rational. He is laying off people to restore his own credibility as a CEO.”

#MetaLayoffs no surprise

The layoffs did not come as a surprise to most employees.

“I got hit with the #MetaLayoffs and am no longer with the company. Super bummed, but not entirely shocked. No hard feelings about it–it is what it is,” posted ex-employee Jason Nellis on Twitter.

Zuckerberg accepted responsibility for the impact of his decisions “and for how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone.”

H1B visa holders at risk

As compensation, META offered its laid-off employees 16 weeks of base pay and health insurance for 6 months, among other benefits like career service advice.

However, the mass layoffs have impacted many Indians on H1B visas. They have a 60-day grace period to find a job or return to India. META has offered support, with Zuckerberg stating, “I know this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa. There’s a notice period before termination and some visa grace periods, which means everyone will have time to make plans and work through their immigration status. We have dedicated immigration specialists to help guide you based on what you and your family need.”

As if losing a job wasn’t painful enough, ex-employees will learn that firing thousands of people has sent META’s stock price soaring making millions in gains this year for their named executive officers. Many of them received $20 million in equity grants in 2022, as disclosed in Meta’s 2023 proxy statement in April.

Meera Kymal is the Managing Editor at India Currents and Founder/Producer at She produces multi-platform content on the South Asian diaspora through the lens of social justice,...