Meta (META) made its latest round of layoffs this week, the final phase of a series of cuts outlined in March by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
This brings the total number of employees laid off from the company since November 2022 to 21,000.
This round affected employees in areas of the business such as engineering, marketing, and user experience. Reality Labs was affected, and even those working in AI and machine learning weren’t necessarily safe.
Amid the layoffs, daily life at Meta has become more tense and less personal, several employees told Yahoo Finance. All of the employees Yahoo Finance has spoken to have joined within the past three years. Meta declined to comment for this story.
The change began when former COO Sheryl Sandberg left the company in August, said a laid-off employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Culture change really involved this shift from long-term and medium-term investments to short-term goals,” the former employee said.
This employee added that the internal discussions between the teams had become more and more tense as people became more determined to illustrate their value. “How do we [daily active users] at the top? How can we get people to spend more time on the app?” are the questions this person says are most pressing for the business today.
Since the managers have also been affected by Meta’s restructuring efforts, the employee said they and some of their co-workers called the layoffs “The Flattening,” a reference to M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film. “The Happening” and a nod to Zuckerberg’s assertion that the company must become more efficient with fewer middle managers.
Ultimately, this round of layoffs sums up how Meta has changed, the employee said.
“I woke up in the morning, saw the email and my manager contacted me – but refused to make a Zoom call with me, saying we should email [instead],” they said.
“I could never have imagined this happening when I joined Meta a year ago. It made me feel better to be done with Meta, and I was like, ‘Wow, can -maybe I don’t want to be a part of that.'”
Wall Street, for its part, has rewarded Meta for its cost-cutting efforts with shares of the company up more than 110% so far this year.
In its latest earnings report, Meta slashed its 2023 spending forecast by $10 billion, noting not only a pullback in its personnel spending, but also a reduction in its real estate portfolio.
“The goals of our efficiency work are to make us a stronger technology company that builds better products faster and to improve our financial performance to give us the space we need in a challenging environment to execute our ambitious vision at long term,” Zuckerberg told analysts on the company’s earnings call last month.
“When we started this work last year, our business was not running as well as I would like, but now we are increasingly doing this work from a position of strength. Even though our financial situation is improving, I continue to believe that slowing down hiring, flattening our management structure, increasing the percentage of our business that is technical, and prioritizing projects more rigorously will improve the speed and quality of our work.”
Allie Garfinkel is a senior technical reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks and on LinkedIn.
Click here for the latest tech news, reviews and helpful tech and gadget articles
Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance