As the parent company of Facebook expressed its goals for the metaverse, Meta's staff exploded in recent years. Yet, recent actions indicate that it is beginning to feel the pinch of shifting technology trends and challenging market conditions. One day after announcing that it was "winding down" support for NFTs, the business today announced another wave of layoffs.

In a message published today, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that He will eliminate roughly 5,000 unfilled roles and lay off an additional 10,000 workers over the coming months. Its hiring department will be impacted this week, as will its IT groups in April and business groups in May.

According to CNBC, Meta previously let go of 11,000 workers, or around 13% of the staff, in November. Meta claimed having 86,482 employees as of December 31, 2022, a 20% increase from the year before, but noted that the number still comprised the majority of the employees affected by the November layoffs.

The most recent layoffs, according to Zuckerberg, are a part of Meta's larger "year of efficiency" campaign, in which the social media juggernaut aims to move forward with a leaner team while flattening its organizational structure, "cancelling lower-priority projects," and streamlining tools and procedures throughout the business.

What does this mean for their Metaverse plans? In 2021, Meta made a lot of noise about the concept of a 3D internet and changed the name of the corporation to reflect what Mark Zuckerberg called a "new frontier" as the industry leader. The announcement also sparked interest in Web3 metaverse games, increasing the value of NFT plots on virtual land.

The hype around the metaverse, however, subsided in 2022 as a result of several criticisms of the concept of an immersive internet, Meta's early implementation of it, and the escalating prices of virtual real estate.

Late last year, Meta reiterated its commitment to creating the metaverse, but as a result of rival OpenAI's ChatGPT's popularity, it has gradually shifted its rhetoric to capitalize on the rising interest in artificial intelligence. In fact, among the technologies that Meta is concentrating on, Zuckerberg lists AI before metaverse.

“Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products. Our leading work building the metaverse and shaping the next generation of computing platforms also remains central to defining the future of social connection.”

On February 1, Zuckerberg stated during Meta's Q4 2022 earnings call that:

"AI now and the metaverse over the longer future are the key technical waves driving our plan... that the company's priorities haven't altered since last year."
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