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Mark Zuckerberg grilled in Meta town hall after layoffs


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of the social media giant during an all-staff meeting Thursday morning, two days after he announced the company would cut 10,000 workers in a months-long restructuring and downsizing.

Zuckerberg was asked a question about how employees are expected to trust the company’s leadership 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 executives should be allowed to change their minds, 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 will judge whether you trust me and want to work at 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 employees in a company-wide meeting that he did not foresee having to make such cuts for the “foreseeable future.”

The CEO ultimately said that what has changed is that he believes the overall financial pressures facing the company will last for some time, and he saw that the November cuts appeared 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 workers 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 growing business pressures. The latest layoffs build on workforce cuts in November that reduced 11,000 jobs, or about 13 percent of Meta’s workforce, in the first large-scale layoffs in the company’s 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, faces increasing competition for ad dollars and users from newer players in the social media market such as 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 on Thursday, Zuckerberg was also asked about the future prospects for remote work.

The company noted Tuesday that an early analysis showed that engineers who either joined the company as a personal employee and then were transferred to an external 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 taken the decision to put most external hiring on hold for now.

Another employee question looked at how they could be productive when the threat of layoffs and project cuts loomed over their heads.

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

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

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