Zuckerberg tells staff to focus on video products as Meta’s stock plunges

Facebook loses a record $251bn of value in a single day.
Mark Zuckerberg . Image: Bloomberg

Mark Zuckerberg quipped that if he started to cry, it wasn’t because of the day’s news.

His red, teary eyes were the result of a scratched cornea, the Facebook founder said Thursday, attempting to lighten the mood as Meta Platforms Inc’s stock price lost more than a quarter of its value.

At a company-wide virtual meeting, Zuckerberg explained that the historic stock drop was a result of Meta’s weak forecast for revenue in the current quarter, according to a person who attended and was not authorised to speak about it. It is important to focus on growing Facebook’s short-video product, he said.

Zuckerberg echoed his remarks of a day earlier to investors, telling employees that the social networking giant faced an “unprecedented level of competition,” with the rise of TikTok, the rival viral-video platform. Meta’s Instagram app has a copycat of TikTok called Reels, which the company is now prioritising.

Employees were glued to the stock price. Facebook lost a record $251 billion of value in a single day. Some were discussing buying shares during the dip, believing in Zuckerberg’s long-term vision for the metaverse, an immersive version of the internet. Others fretted about what a continued decline might mean for their net worth, according to people familiar with the matter. Zuckerberg’s own wealth dropped by $31 billion.

Meta is already talking about ways to retain staff amid the stock rout. The social media giant is thinking of extending existing three-day holiday weekends, Zuckerberg said, responding to a question on burnout. He also encouraged exhausted employees to use their vacation days. He added that based on his life experience, transitioning to a four-day work week all the time would not be productive.

Facebook employees, like many in the technology industry, tend to be heavily compensated via shares. Employee options vest on February 15, and annual bonuses hit in March — both of which could be factors in workers’ potential decisions to leave, according to another person familiar with the company’s plans.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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