RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Facebook parent Meta is preparing to lay off “many thousands of employees” as soon as this week, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal and a similar report in The New York Times.

The company has some 87,000 employees and owns other firms such as Instagram.

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Facebook operates a big data center operation in western North Carolina and reportedly had been considering the establishment of an operation in Durham before the tech sector began encountering economic headwinds due to inflation, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine and other challenges.

“The layoffs are expected to affect many thousands of employees and an announcement is planned to come as soon as Wednesday,” the newspaper reported, citing unnamed people “familiar with the matter.”

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“Company officials already told employees to cancel nonessential travel beginning this week, the people said,” the WSJ added.

The New York Times noted that Meta has encountered turbulence as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has moved to transition Facebook toward development of virtual worlds known as the metaverse. Zuckerberg has warned employees that tough times were coming.

“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Zuckerberg told employees in a call in July, the Times noted. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

On Oct 26 when Zuckerberg discussed Facebook’s most recent earnings Fox Business reported him as saying: “In 2023, we’re going to focus our investments on a small number of high-priority growth area. So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year.”

Layoffs and other cutbacks such as hiring freezes have been spreading across the tech sector.

More than 52,000 workers have been laid off, according to Crunchbase,  which closely monitors venture capital and the tech sector.

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