Meta announced its sunsetting its support of NFTs on Instagram and Facebook and laying off 10,000 more employees, leading many to question the big tech company’s viability.
Meta is back in the limelight with bad news affecting both the technology and web3 industries.
The big tech company announced that it’s ending its support of NFTs on Instagram and Facebook while also laying off 10,000 more employees. This news comes less than a year after Meta announced its support of digital tokens on its platform. The company also cut 13% of its workforce in November, which amounted to roughly 11,000 employees.
Meta has let go of a total of 21,000 employees over the course of four months. The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the new layoff news in a long-winded Facebook post on Tuesday morning and shared that the first wave of layoffs will happen as soon as this week. The layoffs will come in three waves, with Meta’s recruiting, tech, and business teams getting hit the hardest. The big tech company will also halt hiring for around 5,000 open roles it hasn’t filled yet.
“This will be tough and there’s no way around that. It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success. They’ve dedicated themselves to our mission and I’m personally grateful for all their efforts,” Zuckerberg said in the post. “We will support people in the same ways we have before and treat everyone with the gratitude they deserve.”
After the company-wide restructuring concludes sometime after May, Zuckerberg said Meta would lift the hiring and transfer freezes across affected departments. Meta’s CEO is chalking this wave of layoffs to the company’s disappointing revenue growth last year.
“Higher interest rates lead to the economy running leaner, more geopolitical instability leads to more volatility, and increased regulation leads to slower growth and increased costs of innovation,” he wrote. “Given this outlook, we’ll need to operate more efficiently than our previous headcount reduction to ensure success.”
The layoff news may come as a bit of a surprise since Meta recently posted a positive fourth-quarter earnings report. But we can’t forget that the company just lowered Quest prices last week after sharing an ambitious VR roadmap.
Farewell to NFTs
Meta’s decision to sunset support of NFTs on its platform signals the company’s pullback from leveraging Web3 technologies. Meta has made it clear that it’s hyperfocused on building out its VR and AR business. Still, it makes perfect sense that industry leaders are questioning the big tech company’s viability after its moves this week.
Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s commerce and fintech lead, shared the news in a Twitter thread about the company winding down its work with NFTs. Meta first announced its support of digital collectibles on Instagram in May 2022. Since then, the company has been testing minting, selling, and sharing NFTs on its platforms with select creators.
“We learned a ton that we’ll be able to apply to products we’re continuing to build to support creators, people, and businesses on our apps, both today and in the metaverse,” Kasriel said in the Twitter thread. “Let me be clear: creating opportunities for creators and businesses to connect with their fans and monetize remains a priority, and we’re going to focus on areas where we can make impact at scale, such as messaging and monetization opps for Reels.”
Some other opportunities Kasriel mentioned are streamlining payments with Meta Pay and integrating tech to make checkouts and payouts on Meta platforms easier. One big thing that sticks out to me with this announcement from Kasriel is that Meta’s NFT integration was more about money than anything else. The real builders in web3 know that investing in digital collectibles means far more than that.
If Meta goes back to the drawing board on its web3 plans, maybe the company should start by ideating around how to leverage blockchain technology in a way that supports creators on its platforms.
Still, we’ll be watching to see what happens with Meta next.
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