The second cut is just as bloody as the first. After laying off 11,000 employees last November, Mark Zuckerberg announced on March 14 that he would cut 10,000 new positions in the coming weeks. Thus, in just a few months, Meta will cut 25% of its workforce. In addition to the difficult economic situation, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is suffering from an overestimation of its strength. In recent years, the company has been actively recruiting (15,000 new jobs in 2020) without taking the exit of young users seriously. Between 2014/2015 and 2022, the percentage of Americans aged 13 to 17 using Facebook fell from 71 percent to 32 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. The problem is that advertising, Meta’s main source of income, tends to target this demographic and follow them wherever they go.
Mark Zuckerberg tried to win teenagers back with his metaverse promises, but turned on the soufflé too soon. He is certainly right in betting that users will prefer the most immersive solutions: this is what they have always done, moving from text to mass sending of photos, then videos and live broadcasts. But it will still be years before the metaverses offer universes as impressive as what “Zuk” depicts. By organizing a massive advertising campaign with posters in the subway and a commercial on television, the founder of Facebook managed to get the public tired of his innovation even before it was launched. Meta also failed to highlight its excellent AI skills at a time when everyone is talking about it.
TikTok, Meta’s first rival, to be banned soon?
Despite these impressive waves of layoffs, Meta still has some good news to look forward to. Its biggest threat is TikTok, which is attracting younger users en masse. However, the use of wacky videos is on Washington’s radar. The discourse of the American authorities regarding him has become very bitter in recent months. And the last two bills have been introduced to ban it there. “The possibility that TikTok will be banned in the United States has become very likely,” Julien Nochetti, junior fellow at the Geopolitics of Technology program at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), told L’Express.
As for Twitter, which Elon Musk promised to reinvent and revitalize, for now, he’s proving that not everything the SpaceX and Tesla boss touches turns to gold. The paid subscription launched by Elon Musk is not very successful, and his formulaic claims have scared away many advertisers.
This game of social media upheaval is an opportunity for the Meta. The group can take advantage of this to solidify Instagram’s position among teens. This is also the perfect time to reposition Facebook. The service is no longer (and probably never will be) the trendy social network it was in its early days. But it remains the most complete platform on the market with many features (event management, birthday reminder, group profile, etc.). If the Meta manages to establish it as a timeless “classic”, he will win the game.