Mark Zuckerberg failed to conceal his annoyance with an employee who asked about vacation days during a meeting in which the Meta CEO revealed plans to cut underperforming workers, according to a report.
During a companywide Q&A meeting on June 30, the Facebook boss warned a recent market slump “might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history” as he explained the reasoning behind the cost cuts.
During the virtual session, Zuckerberg reportedly “appeared visibly frustrated” after one Chicago-based employee asked whether “Meta Days,” or extra time off introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, would continue in 2023.
“Um … all right,” Zuckerberg said after hearing the pre-recorded question, according to a recording obtained by The Verge. “Given my tone in the rest of the Q&A, you can probably imagine what my reaction to this is.”
In the same meeting, Zuckerberg revealed that Meta would be implementing higher standards for its employees — and cutting ties with those who were unable to meet the new performance threshold.
“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Zuckerberg 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,” Zuckerberg added.
Meta has enacted a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures as it contends with a major downturn in the market and invests in a costly shift towards the metaverse. The company’s stock is down more than 50% this year.
In the June 30 meeting, Zuckerberg said Meta would slow its hiring plans for engineers by at least 30% this year — adding roughly 6,000 or 7,000 workers rather than the 10,000 it initially projected. Some empty roles will remain unfilled.
Zuckerberg’s open declaration that workers were on the chopping block drew stunned reactions from some of the virtual meetings’ attendees, according to the Verge. The billionaire said the company did not plan to implement layoffs but had not yet ruled them out either.
“Did Mark just say there are a bunch of people at this company that don’t belong here[?]” one staffer asked on an internal messaging platform.
“Who hired them?” another employee quipped.
Others praised Zuckerberg’s shift in tone.
“This is war-time, we need a war-time CEO,” one employee wrote.
A Meta representative downplayed Zuckerberg’s comments in a statement to The Verge.
“Any company that wants to have a lasting impact must practice disciplined prioritization and work with a high level of intensity to reach goals,” Meta spokesperson Joe Osborne told The Verge. “The reports about these efforts are consistent with this focus and what we’ve already shared publicly about our operating style.”
Meanwhile, employee faith in Meta’s upper management has reportedly plummeted as the company contends with market-related challenges as well as ongoing scrutiny from lawmakers over its business practices.
An internal survey said just 39% of Meta employees were optimistic about the company’s future, while just 42% had “confidence in leadership.”
The Post has reached out to Meta for further comment.
Meta shares were down nearly 2% in early trading Tuesday ahead of a critical earnings report on Wednesday. The company is in danger of posting its first-ever quarterly revenue decline for the second quarter after reporting its slowest growth since going public in the first quarter.