This article was originally published on Aug. 19, 2022.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, in June told its employees that it planned to not only reduce its hiring target, but it was going to "turn up the heat" on employees via stricter performance management with the intention of weeding out underperforming employees.
If turning up the heat wasn’t enough, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company fired 60 employees at random using an algorithm, Business Insider reported.
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What Happened: The contractors work with Facebook through
Accenture, which provides contracted employees to Facebook for various hourly tasks.
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When an employee asked how the layoffs were chosen, the Accenture representatives said "an algorithm" helped to choose people at random, according to the report.
Insider said that Accenture did not immediately give the staff substitute positions, but instead instructed them to reapply for any positions that became available over the following two weeks.
The soon-to-be former employees were informed via video conference that they would have no work as of Sept. 2, with pay ending on Oct. 3.
The layoffs follow a company-wide Q&A in June where Zuckerberg laid out Meta’s plans for the remainder of the year.
"If I had to bet, I'd say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we've seen in recent history," the tech CEO told Meta staff members in the Q&A session.
Related: Mark Zuckerberg Tells Employees — 'Self-selection Is OK With Me,' Wants Those Who 'Shouldn't Be' At Meta To Leave
“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” he said, according to multiple reports.
Why It Matters: The social network company began making cost-cutting plans a few months ago as it lost around 500,000 users for the first time at the end of 2021.
Meta anticipates a decline in revenue this year, partly as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Additionally, in early 2022, Meta said it anticipated a $10-billion revenue loss as a result of new iOS privacy settings from Apple.
Algorithmic layoffs are not new; Xsolla, a payment processing company for the gaming industry, used an algorithm to lay off 150 employees in August of last year.
Photo: Courtesy of Anthony Quintano on flickr