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Mark Zuckerberg says staffing levels to be hit by downturn

Facebook’s parent company currently employs 6,000 people in Ireland

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Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says ‘there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here’. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says ‘there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here’. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says ‘there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here’. Photograph: George Frey/Bloomberg

The parent company of Facebook, Meta, has declined to comment on whether it plans to slow its hiring rates or scale back resources for its operations in Ireland.

It comes after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wanted some staff to leave and that it would hire fewer engineers than planned because of what he expects to be “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history”.

Meta currently employs 3,000 people in Ireland with a further 6,000 people employed in “supporting it company and services”. Its operations here include its international headquarters, a data centre in Meath and a ‘Reality Lab’ in Cork. It will shortly move into a new headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

It is currently trying to build products and services for the Metaverse, a virtual reality platform that Mr Zuckerberg claims will have over one billion people visiting regularly within a few years.

However, on a call to employees this week, Mr Zuckerberg said that the company would now tighten its belt and hire 30pc fewer engineers than it had planned. He also said the company would like to get rid of some staff.

“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” he said, in an audio recording that was reported by Reuters.

“Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me.”

Some unfilled positions would also now not be filled as part of the rationing, he said.

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“If I had to bet, I’d say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” he said, explaining the rationale for the belt-tightening.

The tough message was reinforced by Meta’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, who sent an internal memo warning that product development teams would have to make do with fewer resources than they were expecting.

Other large US tech multinationals say they have no current plans to alter hiring plans or scale back their operations here, with most still looking for hundreds of new recruits.

A spokesperson for TikTok, which is now Facebook’s biggest social media rival, said the Chinese-owned company is still proceeding with a huge expansion of its Dublin base from 2,000 to 3,000 people. The firm announced the 1,000-person hiring spree for its Irish operations in May.

A spokesperson for Google, which employs 9,000 people in Dublin, declined to comment. However, it is understood the company has not changed any hiring plans.


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