The job axes leave Meta’s Web3 ambitions bleaker than ever.
Meta will be cutting 10,000 jobs over the next few months, CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday. The announcement comes a day after the company revealed it would be “winding down” support for NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, as outlined by commerce and fintech lead Stephane Kasriel in Twitter thread on Monday.
The company will also close 5,000 current job vacancies that are yet to be filled. It’s the second mass-layoff from Meta in five months. In November 2022, the company laid off 11,000 employees – roughly 13% of its workforce. In yesterday’s announcement, Zuckerberg revealed that the layoffs had an overall positive impact on the company, with many processes speeding up since downsizing.
The new job cuts are part of Meta’s ‘Year of Efficiency’ – a campaign which aims to improve the company’s financial standing and re-focus their aims back to technology. This involves canceling projects that are “duplicative or lower priority”, as well as improving the ratio of engineers to other roles.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that NFTs are a “lower priority” for Meta. The company has seen little success in the Web3 space despite its ambitions to lead the way into the metaverse – an ambition best reflected in their rebranding from Facebook to Meta.
In February last year, the U.S. Federal Reserved opposed the Meta-backed cryptocurrency Diem (formerly known as Libra), forcing the company behind the currency to sell its assets to Silvergate bank for $200 million. A few months later, Novi, the digital wallet supporting Diem, requesting all users to withdraw their funds “as soon as possible” as it prepared to close.
The announcement suggests Meta will be shifting from Web3 toward AI instead, likely in part due to the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Zuckerberg wrote: “Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products. We have the infrastructure to do this at unprecedented scale and I think the experiences it enables will be amazing.”
Meta is giving up on NFTs for now, but Zuckerberg insists that the metaverse is still a central tenet of the company’s long-term plan, stating it defines “the future of social connection.”