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Facebook’s parent company Meta is slashing hiring plans as Mark Zuckerberg warns of “one of the worst downturns in recent history”.
The social media giant plans to hire as much as 40pc fewer engineers than it had earlier predicted, amid an economic downturn and as privacy changes hit its advertising business.
Mr Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, outlined the changes to staff on Thursday.
"If I had to bet, I'd say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we've seen in recent history,” he told employees, according to a recording of the event leaked to Reuters.
He said that Meta would hire between 6,000 and 7,000 engineers, compared to previous plans for around 10,000.
Mr Zuckerberg’s comments echo those of fellow tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is in the process of cutting 3,500 salaried jobs because of a “super bad feeling” about the economy.
Mr Zuckerberg said many staff who leave will not be replaced and bosses will be encouraged to identify employees not pulling their weight.
"Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn't be here,” he said.
“Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn't for you, and that self-selection is OK with me.”
Meta has grown relentlessly in recent years, from 17,048 employees in 2016 to 71,970 last year. Expansion of its workforce has mirrored growth in its user base, profits and sales.
However, earlier this year the company revealed its first ever drop in daily users amid growing competition from TikTok. In April it revealed its slowest ever revenue growth and a 21pc drop in profits as advertising sales were affected by privacy controls on Apple iPhones.
Meta, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, had already frozen hiring in several parts of its business.
The changes come as the company attempts to reposition itself around the “metaverse”, online worlds accessed through virtual reality.
Meta has lost more than half of its value this year, with shares dropping by 52pc.
Its slower rate of hiring comes as many tech companies cut jobs amid a widespread downturn. Tesla, Netflix and Coinbase have all cut jobs in recent months.