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Meta lays off 11,000 people (fb.com)
2048 points by technics256 on Nov 9, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 1977 comments



I worked at Facebook when covid first hit. Zuckerburg treated everyone in the company very, very well. There was a blanket "don't worry about performance, take care of your families" guarantee that honestly was an enormous help.

The thing that particularly struck me though was the way he handled contract workers like (some of) the kitchen staff, cleaners, etc. These people don't work for Facebook and he had zero obligation to them, yet he paid all of their wages for the full length of the pandemic just so they could stay afloat.

If it were just about the money, I doubt he'd have done this.


I am particularly sad about current state of Meta. Regardless of what people think of Facebook and Zuck, he was unapologetically a hacker. I visited FB campus few times and emphasis on hacker culture everywhere was just immensely delightful. He knew the value of good hacker and raised bar for the compensation across the entire industry. Ship your code today was absolutely refreshing. Number of open source projects that has came out of Meta is unparalleled for number of employees. MetaAI had been well protected and is one of the strongest engine for progress in AI. I always viewed it as a company run by a hacker for hackers.


I do not think he is evil, just really disconnected from reality, which in all honesty most C-Levels are.

From his statement it sounds like he really believed people would accept the pandemic’s restrictions as a “new normal” and this would leap-frog humanity into the virtual world for good.

I am a highly cynical and pessimistic person and even I knew this wasn’t happening. People around the World were literally risking their lives and their loved ones for a little physical connection. Our generation, it turns out, is still very human centric and we are still ultimately social beings, not just social minds. Maybe kids born into YouTube, who are now coming of age, will be different, yet I still would not bet 11 thousand lives on it.


> People around the World were literally risking their lives and their loved ones for a little physical connection.

Other people kept working their blue collar jobs at mines and oil pads as if nothing had happened. Once I was on the mine sites, there was no indication of anything different. No masks or any other BS.

My 'rona experience was totally different than the wfh keyboard careers.


upvotes are unfortunately not visible. while my comment adds minimal, I want to amplify this comment.


It's the "caveman principle" [0] at work. We are still biologically pretty much the same. Hopefully, it means that something like Metaverse will never materialize or that it will take the emergence of a Matrix-like VR first.

[0] https://associationsnow.com/2013/04/how-the-future-of-associ...


NSA is also probably a great place for hackers, but their mission is trash. Someone once drew a 2x2 grid for me. One dimension was competence, and the other was right mission. I was then asked what is the most dangerous square on the grid. The answer is competent with the wrong mission.


You don't agree with the tiny sliver of the NSA mission that you know about.

90% of the work they do is purely defensive. The offensive work targets bad actors and foreign governments/militaries, compared to other countries intelligence services that also engage in economic espionage.

In a perfect world they wouldn't need to exist at all. But we don't live in that world.


You contradict yourself. If you don't know what they are doing behind the curtain, how can you be so confident that 90% of what they do is defensive?

They don't work within the bounds of the law and constitution, and thus their mission is bad by my simple definition. I don't need to know what they do in secret.


Sometimes people have clearances and they speak vaguely to avoid literal jail. Consequences are high here.


People with clearances also have huge incentives to lie to themselves about the decency of what they're doing. One of the main thing secrecy protects, is such people's morale.

You know what they say, "if they cheat with you, they cheat on you too". A liar is a liar. If your job involves seeking people's trust in order to betray it, you're not very smart if you think your boss wouldn't betray you.


Ok and sometimes people just say unsubstantiated shit on the internet. Which one is it? Do you have some inside knowledge on the commenter?


I can’t comment on the specific poster, but I once held a clearance and can relate.


"They don't work within the bounds of the law and constitution"

So what has your research on this uncovered?


Are you really unaware of this? It was the top story in the country for months. A documentary about it even won an Oscar. As someone else has already replied, we are talking about the vast domestic spying apparatus that Snowden revealed, including the PRISM and xkeyscore programs. They are unquestionably unconstitutional and illegal. Anyone that suggested they existed before the reveal was an insane paranoid nutjob. Furthermore, the fact that there was virtually nothing done about this severe crime by the rest of the government indicates that the entire system is a farce. The NSA is still doing the same thing as before, and probably more.


Another angle is how do you prosecute the head of intelligence when everything is supposed to be secret.

That is what Denmark is trying to find out:

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/denmark-charges-spy-chi...


The first thing that comes to my mind is the whole Snowden series of events. Spying every citizen, is wrong. Also, I'm seeing the effects of something similar in my country, where this sort of spying is used to curb free speech, dissent, and completely kill the very essence of democracy.

It is wrong, and there has to be better ways. I don't remember the exact procedure, but NSA didn't need much clearance to spy on any American citizen.


Given the natural opaqueness of the organization I would likely fundamentally disagree with a great deal more of what the NSA mission is if I had any knowledge of it.

They also basically have zero real congressional oversight.

And just because 90% of what they do is purely defensive doesn't make the 10% any more acceptable (x key score, data mining, hooking into Google, etc.)


> 90% of the work they do is purely defensive.

You have literally no idea whether that’s true. Even if you somehow did, you couldn’t prove it here.

You could be right—but your assertion has zero credibility.


How do you square this with the constitution? Need to capture all the data on the internet and sift through it for the greater good?


Clearly not, and if we look at who enacted the NSA and current events of stifling speech we have a clear answer.


> You don't agree with the tiny sliver of the NSA mission that you know about.

Strong "trust me bro" vibes.

Hand-waving and baseless assertions don't contradict the fact that it conducts activities against it's country's most basic founding principles and laws.

This regrettable line of argument is in line with blindly defending the police in spite of all the police murders, abuse, and outright corruption.


What's wrong with the NSA's mission?

Analysts stealing nudes isn't the mission.


I never had much complaint about Facebook's engineering culture, it seems like they get more right than the other giant tech companies.

Facebook's failures were always with business morals and product direction, and it's the latter that they really really screwed up on this time with the attempt to turn their cash cow into TikTok and the investment into the metaverse.


"Number of open source projects that has came out of Meta is unparalleled for number of employees." Minor nit, the unparalleled part doesn't hold true here. Meta has about 600 open source projects which is nice, but Google has had over 8,000 open source projects. Meta is nowhere near Google's level of open source community support for the number of employees proportionally. Google has about twice as many employees but over 13 times the amount of open source projects.


Considering that most of Google's open source projects are of the "throw over the wall" kind, where they don't really care about the wider community, when most of Meta's projects (that I've seen) are interacting with and creating communities, it's not really comparable.

TLDR: by KLOC Google might have more, but arguably Meta's have more impact.


Maybe it got to his head, like child movie stars that never enjoyed a normal childhood? Being a hacker is no guarantee of being a well adapted adult, specially if your hobby transforms into an international behemoth in just 15 years.


That is how cabals work.


I get your point, but is that really such a great thing when it comes to business ethics? e.g., spying on people and hacking their private communications just to get ahead: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-mark-zuckerberg-hacked-i...


He was 19 there right? Thankfully I've seen people who were writing keyloggers at that age be very decent, good people, so that article isn't an indictment of who he is now - plenty of things to look at more recent than that. It would be really nice to hear him candidly express how he fucked up with the rohingya, and content promotion/moderation.


> he was unapologetically a hacker

Huh? Like Gates and Musk, he's not even a highly skilled developer, even less a hacker.


Seriously I was never aware how badly the word's meaning has been butchered by the SV techbros until I joined the site.

I first heard it used to traditionally describe computer security whizzes like Kevin Mitnick, Diffie & Hellman, Robert Morris (Morris worm) etc. But apparently the last ~15 years it's just a compliment for the next random corporate grifter who has 0 technical experience and is just in for the $$$.

However Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years before or right after dropping out of Harvard by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=922367...


I don't think this is a "SV techbro" thing. In the 80s (when I was in college), "hacker" had a connotation of someone who built cool things in software, usually outside the "normal" approach. It was sort of the opposite of what eventually became software engineering - quick and dirty "tricks" that explored the edges of operating system. We looked up to hackers as repositories of esoteric knowledge. Long hair and hiking boots were common.

Certainly, some of what they hacked on might be related to security. Or maybe they wrote little games. Or threw together a curses-based interface to the Unix shell. Or some other cool utility.

As I recall, there was a concerted attempt to distinguish between people who exploited security vulnerabilities (aka "crackers") from people who could quickly build these useful things ("hackers").

I feel like the modern use of hacker (ala "hackathon") is actually pretty well in line with the usage I grew up with.


As far as I know you have it reversed: Mitnick & co. should be called "crackers", while "hackers" is the wrong term.

I found this article (I only skimmed it and didn't look for counter evidence, sorry) https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/a-short-...


> computer security whizzes like Kevin Mitnick

Strange because Mitnick puts most of his exploits down to social engineering, not technical prowess.

But then taking anything a self-confessed social engineer says about themselves at face value is obviously problematic.


I know but it certainly was one of the most prominent names when I was googling for best hackers ( :-) ) back in 2005.

Still, I prefer having someone like Kevin in mind when saying the word instead of any other desperate "growth hacker" that is trying to mislead VCs with their trite ideas that will forever change tech the way we know it.


We have Eric S Raymond to thank for corrupting the meaning of "Hacker" to include himself.


Plate of Shrimp:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33537629

https://idlewords.com/2005/04/dabblers_and_blowhards.htm

>I blame Eric Raymond and to a lesser extent Dave Winer for bringing this kind of schlock writing onto the Internet. Raymond is the original perpetrator of the "what is a hacker?" essay, in which you quickly begin to understand that a hacker is someone who resembles Eric Raymond. Dave Winer has recently and mercifully moved his essays off to audio, but you can still hear him snorfling cashew nuts and talking at length about what it means to be a blogger[7] . These essays and this writing style are tempting to people outside the subculture at hand because of their engaging personal tone and idiosyncratic, insider's view. But after a while, you begin to notice that all the essays are an elaborate set of mirrors set up to reflect different facets of the author, in a big distributed act of participatory narcissism.


Your claim is that solving a hard math problem (which takes smarts for sure!) is more "hacker" than bulding a web app (Zck) or an operating system (Gates)?


I understand why you would think that's what I meant to say, but no.

If we aren't talking about computer security, hacker imo would be someone with remarkable technical/scientific contributions. Indeed, there may be some personal bias for math hackers (cryptographers, theorists) but then their skillsets with the respective programmer ones converge.


> ...he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back...

Article says his paper on it was published in 1979, which was 43 years ago. I wouldn't call that 'a few years back'. I interpreted your comment as he took a break from his philanthropy to come up to an efficient solution to the problem like 3-5 years ago.


Holy shit that's a very misleading typo. Thanks for pointing it out.


No problem. It's still cool, still makes him a hacker, just slightly less impressive than if he had done it while juggling the needs of his Foundation.


> Seriously I was never aware how badly the word's meaning has been butchered by the SV techbros until I joined the site.

Spot on.

> However Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.

Wait, what?


It might be Gates and Papadimitriou (1979): Bounds for Sorting by Prefix Reversal.

https://dodona.ugent.be/exercises/189028897/media/gates1979....



> Wait, what?

Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.


Musk was writing games at 12 years old and Zuck still does stuff like this.

https://m.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-jarvis...


And that does not make someone a highly skilled developer and even less a world-class genius.


Gates personally wrote the embedded BASIC interpreter for the TRS-80 Model 100, among other things. It isn't valid to question his technical "hacker cred."

Pick a different line of attack if you want to slag Gates; there are several others to choose from.


The point being discussed is "he was unapologetically a hacker." Making your own home automation definitely makes you a hacker.


I’m curious what you’ve done.


LOL, nice logic there.


I’ll take that as not a lot.


HAH, downvoted to -4 for writing this on "hacker" news.


I worked at Ticketmaster when covid first hit. Since the beginning, management has always been positive and re-iterating that the cash reserves are substantial and the company can endure the loss of revenue. Then the first layoff hit. Same re-iteration. We are good. Then came the second layoff.


The company is fine. The employees are not.

Anyway, you don't join Ticketmaster for anything approaching morality. Snakes eat snakes.


Salesforce announced their largest profits ever the same week they announced their first layoffs ever, I believe. The company, as they said, was in great shape.


Curious - what's the vibe like at Ticketmaster when ticket fees comes up?


Meta may sound like an unethical company frequently from a product standpoint, but Zuckerberg is a very good guy in general and he treats employees very well.


People are multifaceted. I'm sure he is good to his employees, like people are describing, but that ain't it.

He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around.


> He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around.

This. Yes.

Facebook came within a whisker of establishing themselves as the central communications hub for the planet. They ruined their own business from greed. Grew it huge (instead of long steady growth) and it has collapsed.

Greed

It would not have been a good thing if they became "... He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around. " so we are all better off, probably.

I hope the story of Zuck and FB become business school lessons on "greed is bad and will destroy you". Not what they taught me at business school (I was there in 2008) but they should have


There's a classic Tim O'Reilly line about the importance of "creating more value than you capture."

Early Facebook was very good at this! I used their ads platform a lot in 2009-10 to raise engagement for a small non-profit that I was helping. The Facebook experience was simple, easy and great value for the money.

And then the ads ecosystem gradually got "optimized." Our nonprofit still kept using it for a while, but it was clear that the focus no longer was in providing great experiences for us -- or our intended audience. Pricing went up; as did efforts to steer me into packages that worked better for FB than me. It was as if someone said: "Stop creating 2x the value you capture. Move toward 1.01x"

FB made many billions over the next decade. But it drained the ecosystem's goodwill. Old-economy industrial giants usually took 80-100 years to paint themselves into this corner. Kind of amazing that FB has done it in less than 20.


How exactly were they greedy in particular? To me it seems they are doing what every other company is, I’m unaware of Meta engaging in anything greedy that is out of the ordinary, is that not the case (genuinely asking) and why do you think that is tied to these layoffs?


There's the video metrics scandal: https://www.ccn.com/facebook-lied-about-video-metrics/

They lied to content creators about how much money could be earned by switching to video on FB. This bankrupted multiple businesses, including Collegehumor and FunnyOrDie: https://twitter.com/adamconover/status/1183209875859333120?l...


Zuckerberg was hauled in to US Congress more than once and was chastised for all kinds of wrongdoing. E.g. spreading foreign propaganda in US elections, encouraging extremist violence. FB chase for user engagement has made it into the modern version of a gladiatorial freak show. If broadcasting two one legged gladiators fight to the death will draw eyeballs, Zuckbot will do it.


They tried to connect people, but that didn't make money. So they pivoted to ads, but that didn't bring steady growth. So they fueled participation with tools like the Like button which stoked conflict from the start. Had they been cautious about their steps at any point then problems could have been avoided.


One word: maximizing advertising revenue


Greed and arrogance. Zuckerberg doesn't respect his users and everyone knows it. Eventually you break trust to a degree where it can't be repaired--no "investments" or "metrics" or "new offerings" will fix it.

You can fool some of the people some of the time...


> Greed

No, incompetence and naivety.

They were young, dumb and all from the same college/upbringing.


    People are multifaceted. I'm sure he is good to 
    his employees, like people are describing, but that ain't it.
This is refreshing to read. I would like to see more of this rather than "Zuck good" or "Zuck bad."

Of course, for those immediately impacted and hurt/angered by his actions I certainly wouldn't blame anybody for venting.

But it would be much more productive to talk about "thing Zuck did good" or "thing Zuck did bad."


This is the key thing that people need to realize. Being a very nice person is simply not enough to be a good person. Hitler was famously kind to his dogs and domestic staff. He even personally intervened to save Ernst Hess, his Jewish CO from WWI. Big-time "but I have black friends" vibes.


    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

    Zuck: Just ask.

    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

    Zuck: People just submitted it.

    Zuck: I don't know why.

    Zuck: They "trust me"

    Zuck: Dumb fucks.


I'm so glad I never said anything stupid when I was 19


I've yet to see any evidence that his attitude has changed on this issue.


I don't care if you give your employees ice cream with sprinkles and a 40oz every day. If you say shit like this you deserve to have your entire company decompose slowly


Blame Sheryl Sandberg for many of the unethical decisions


[flagged]


Not a great look to introduce sexism into the conversation. Nor labeling grown adults as names we call little children.

Sheryl was given credit for creating current facebook culture. Before Sheryl employees had unaudited to your private photos for example. Are you going to say she deserves no credit and we better credit the boys instead? If not then she must accept any failures that come from that culture.


> Not a great look to introduce sexism into the conversation. Nor labeling grown adults as names we call little children.

You have no idea of what "sexism" is.


Suggesting she was a token girl is the greater misogyny


Reminds me of Hank Scorpio


I'm pretty sure Scorpio's lair of paradise was inspired by Microsoft in Redmond. In the 90s, it was legendarily posh with how well the people were treated. Nobody in corporate america had that quality of fitness centers, on-site cafes, etc.

Google was the next to up the ante in mid-2000s with things like daycare, a ball pit, food, drycleaning. All equally mind-blowing to the populace who expected a workplace would have an elevator, and a coffee machine nobody refills.


I don't believe MS ever had onsite fitness centers. Employees got subsidized memberships to offsite gyms, but the only things onsite were/are playfields and showers for bike commuters, etc.

Food might have been okay by 90s standards, but was pretty mediocre overall until ~2010 when they started redoing all the cafes to have a higher quality food. Still, it was slightly subsidized but not free and many, many employees went offsite or brought food from home.


Yes, there was a gym next to the playfields on main campus.


> All equally mind-blowing to the populace who expected a workplace would have an elevator, and a coffee machine nobody refills.

There was a "coffee pool", where you joined to contribute a dollar or something a week and someone would buy the supplies.

At big companies there were often food trucks. Also a cafeteria, which probably sucked. There might also be a small library where you could hang out and read relevant trade journals.


You can't be serious. I think it's rare for a company to treat developers poorly but that's beside the point.

Didn't he lie to congress, waste tens of millions of dollars on legal defense for himself and repeatedly turn a blind eye to human trafficking, voter manipulation, the spread of hate and division, genocide and more? He swept studies under the rug that show that his platforms directly led to increases in teenage suicides.

This man is not a good guy just because you feel he's nice to some people. People he depends on at that.


Company over Country right?


Are there any examples of a CEO choosing country over company in the modern USA?

Not defending Zuck here, would just like to read about that if possible.



He is not perfect but the only person I can think of is Sal Khan of khanacademy. His content is completely free and provides free prep for SAT and other subjects.


Mike Lindell, arguably. He lost a ton of business by injecting himself into politics and doing what he thought was putting his country first.


I'd be interested in the stats, but my perception is that he (and his products) are much more well-known now than before. I always saw his foray into politics as a very aggressive niching strategy. He saw Trump's momentum and hitched his wagon.

He might have lost Costco and their low margins, but he picked up an army of high-margin D2C sympathizers who have been shown to be generous with their money (if the cause is right).


Lindell just wanted to sell to gullible Trunp fans and make himself a celebrity and power broker for a fascist. The good of the country wasn't a factor.


Would be against the law right? You are required to maximize stockholder value


> You are required to maximize stockholder value

This is legal fiction that has no bearing in the kinds of subjects that it often gets brought up in. Simply put, those responsible for a company (e.g. officers of a corporation) have a fiduciary duty towards its owners (e.g. the shareholders), and it means that the owners would have legal recourse against the officers if they were provably pissing money away on things that don't benefit the company at all.

That latter part is a high bar and critically does not mean that they are, for example, legally required to prioritize quarterly profits over the long-term success of the company or to pay employees as little as possible, as is often mentioned. It just means that officers must take action that furthers the interests of the company in the way that they prudently and reasonably see fit.


> legally required to prioritize quarterly profits over the long-term success of the company or to pay employees as little as possible, as is often mentioned.

Obviously this isn't a legal requirement, but pretty much every CEO would be out of a job if they choose country over company. Shareholders are generally not interested in furthering national geopolitics.


> Shareholders are generally not interested in furthering national geopolitics.

I don't think that's true. Look at all the corporate action about Ukraine for an example of interest in geopolitics - lots of donations, public statements, etc. And then there's companies actually in Ukraine, or next door - when politics gets unstable enough, contributing to the stability/security of the country over the short term of the company looks like the right move. Evaluating when that point is reached is probably about as contentious as any other decision in politics.


This is a popular deflection of responsibility that is, in fact, entirely false.

You are required to abide by shareholder decisions at official meetings, and generally not act against shareholder interests, but there is absolutely no law stating that you must act to maximize shareholder value. (And it's a damn good thing that's the case; things are bad enough as it is.)


You're required to put forth a good faith effort to act in the shareholders interests, but no court would say choosing country over company breaks that law. The CEO would certainly be fired though, so it still won't happen.


How does this fictional canard stop being posted to HN?


I think it's good if it gets posted and debunked as often as possible to maximize the knowledge that it is false


If the majority of Facebook's shareholders wanted to liquidate the company and blow the proceeds hosting the biggest ice cream party in the world the executives are supposed to make that happen.

It's not about producing profits it's about doing what the shareholders want.


> If it were just about the money

Sadly, today's layoffs were probably related to it not being just about the money then... no matter how good your intentions are, when the money runs out, it's gone.


Even Zuckerberg acknowledges that it is about money in the linked article:

"Fundamentally, we’re making all these changes for two reasons: our revenue outlook is lower than we expected at the beginning of this year, and we want to make sure we’re operating efficiently across both Family of Apps and Reality Labs. "


It is about trimming the fat mainly. Meta is still absolutely a money printing machine.


In fact, this is one of those truisms about the "down" side of the classical business cycle - that recessions partly function as an excuse to cut inefficiencies. How accurate this truism is, I don't know.


Proof is that Meta stock is up today. I don't like this system of value, but it's what we've got.


Today's price action is rarely a reflection of today's news.


"trimming the fat" - this is such an unfortunate phrase. In evolutionary terms, fat is what let species survive lean periods.


This is a lean period, and the fat that meta had enabled them to cut fat rather than cut muscle or bone, making them now more lean, but still strong. The fat they had served its purpose similar to how fat serves its purpose during famine.


and in modern terms it makes you a social pariah. Really though trimming the fat probably refers to a butcher removing the unwanted flesh from meat, not losing weight.


Spot on. The clue it’s not about evolution is that you don’t “trim” fat from a live animal.


They hired 42,000 during COVID. Lots of companies did the same, Twitter added 3500, the largest since they started.


I agree with your overall point, that Facebook employees have been very well taken care of, but:

> There was a blanket "don't worry about performance, take care of your families" guarantee that honestly was an enormous help.

Yet now he is firing people based on those same performance reviews. Plenty of people I know at Facebook feel betrayed because of exactly this.


The beginning of covid is 2.5 years ago. I don't see how you can today say that he lied.


When your CEO's most famous quote is "They 'trust me.' Dumb fucks," you shouldn't be surprised what happens when you trust him.


That's good to hear about Mark as opposed to just the bad stuff.


> I worked at Facebook when covid first hit

Same here. I've been doing this since before the year 2000, and can't imagine any other company I've worked for treating employees this well. In this current cycle, I was laid off from my job and my severance was zero days. The only thing I got was the mandatory WARN act time and verting of option that were worth about 2 weeks of my base pay.


Ex-Facebooker here too, also during that time.

Zuck's response to Covid definitely had upsides, particularly (as you mention) the continued payment of contractors even though offices were closed. There were downsides too. The "Don't worry about perf" also meant you couldn't get promoted that half and there was no recognition for better performance, which sort of sucked for people whose projects had come to fruition (where they reap the rewards of impact). Hypothetically you could get recognized in H2 2020 but in reality it didn't really work like that most of the time.

But look, the big problem with Facebook is twofold:

1. Apple's "do not track" feature really cut the ad business off at its knees. You can support that on privacy grounds but that shouldn't obscure the issue that a platform being able to do that while maintaining that benefit themselves is actually a huge problem (and it makes a big case for Apple acting anticompetitively);

2. (This is the big one) Zuck has no vision for the company. That's the core problem. Assuming pandemic growth would continue (as he claims) isn't the problem.

This first took form in response to the spread of misinformation in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Facebook decided to try and determine objective truth in posts. That's never going to work and never going to make anyone happy. Controversial topics get amplified. But labelling misinformation treats this as a content problem when it's a user behaviour problem. It's your weird uncle posting articles about chips in vaccines. The content doesn't matter. The behaviour does.

But here's the big one: Facebook has long viewed products on two axes: audience and medium. Twitter, for example, goes to a large audience. WhatsApp, small audiences. Medium is essentiaally this progression: text -> image -> video -> VR -> AR. It explains the purchase of Oculus and fits with the metaverse.

But there's literally no business case for the metaverse. Nobody wants it. Phones are convenient. Wearing headsets isn't. If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty) then maybe that might work but there are significant technical problems (eg matching focus, true blacks).

So 11,000 people got let go today because of bad decisions made at the very top that they had nothing to do with and no control over. Sure Zuck has lots a bunch of paper value but whether you have $100 billion or $30 billion, you're fine.


> Wearing headsets isn't. If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty) then maybe that might work but there are significant technical problems (eg matching focus, true blacks).

I've said this same thing a thousand times. It's not lack of content or use-cases killing AR - the tech just isn't there yet. Form factor is one of the very pressing issues. It seems inevitable that the tech will get solved, but it's not clear whether it's a couple years or a couple decades.


>But there's literally no business case for the metaverse. Nobody wants it. Phones are convenient. Wearing headsets isn't.

Less true today than yesterday. Less true tomorrow than today. Rinse. Repeat.


I feel like if we do see VR going mainstream it’ll be something like the background screens used in filming the Mandalorian. Big wall displays / projections that adjust what they’re displaying based on viewer location. All the viewer would need to wear is 3d theater glasses.


> If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty)

Could you expand on this? It's seems absolutely certain, with products like nreal Air existing: https://www.nreal.ai/air

What unsolved hurdle do you see? Heck, there were even prototypes of laser retinal projection at CES!


> What unsolved hurdle do you see?

Drawing an opaque, dark line. Almost all these screens are adding light to an existing scene. The only way they can make black is to just not project light, which means you need to have a dark background to actually show dark.

Ever view a projector outside in a bright sunny day?


> Zuck has no vision for the company

Exactly this.


It’s easy to be generous when times are good and your equity is significantly overvalued relative to fundamentals


And yet, many are still not generous when times are good.


Many were. And now that their stocks are down 90%, they aren’t


> equity is significantly overvalued relative to fundamentals

Which fundamentals?

The $117.9 billion in revenue and $39.4 billion of net profit in 2021 [1]?

The price to earnings ratio of 9.22, which is far lower than the NASDAQ average of around 28.0 [2]?

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/277229/facebooks-annual-... [2] https://ycharts.com/companies/NDAQ/pe_ratio


Those stats are for now, not then. Good try though

And they are vaporizing all of their FCF by reinvesting into the metaverse. Or were until the stock continued to collapse.

It’s fair value here if you assume the metaverse is actually something they can monetize in a big way. Too far off for most investors


Not normally a fan of the man, so this is very nice to hear.


My Facebook interview process was not only more professional, objective, and relevant than any other, it was also actually enjoyable, as I said elsewhere.

I wish there was a biotech with FB’s culture.


I may dislike Facebook, but this is great! Kudos to Zuck for doing the right thing for his employees.


I'm pretty sure he didn't lose a single one of his billions paying them, but good on him anyways. He definitely didn't have to do it.


amazing and imagine if this was not just a common cold


[flagged]


Facebook (and social media in general) has made the world a more divided place full of sadder and angrier people. He runs a company that optimizes for that scenario while accruing unimaginable sums of capital, and he doubled down with Meta. Hmm I wonder why some people are not fans.


Social media is just a tool for political atomization.

People were already angry on AM radio and cable "news" channels. Gerrymandering works on political maps and demographics - politicians have figured that by boxing voters into bins and away from the center, they can have their votes forever.


Right. And social media capitalizes on that behavior and amplifies it significantly.


Meta has been amazing and enables me to talk to family members anywhere in the world easily.


It's not social media, it's the internet. Whether on Facebook or reddit or Twitter, you can find a group of people who reinforce whatever bad ideas you have. This creates echo chambers wherever you go. If you think the world is flat or run by the illuminati you can find 10000 people to reinforce that belief. But it's also great to be able to find communities for whatever niche hobby you might have , and it's spreading real knowledge faster than ever in history.


Same boat as you. I understand the privacy concerns and the fear that Facebook is changing society for the worse, all of this is worth discussing but I don't see it as an evil company trying to actively ruin people.

Truly excited to see how far they can push VR and AI.


Hold up. You know they got money from the government not to lay people off, right?


As in a PPP loan? I haven’t found this in public record, any source I can reference?


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