Last week, Facebook laid off an estimated 60 contract workers who were left stunned by learning that they were selected randomly by an algorithm. While the move clearly shows that companies are now trusting in data-driven decisions more than ever before, the layoff also indicates that the tough days are knocking on the doors.
The layoffs at Meta are yet another example of Big Tech reining spending and hiring. Not so long ago, Apple made headlines when it revealed that it let go of about 100 recruiters.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stated that he will fish out underperforming employees and conduct aggressive performance reviews as the company prepares for a severe economic downturn.
The fired contract workers were on the payroll of Accenture. Meta has a deal for nearly half a million dollars per year with Accenture to provide workers in content moderation as well as business integrity.
According to Business insider, Accenture announced the layoffs via video conference call last Tuesday. Sadly, neither new jobs nor transfer opportunities were provided immediately by Accenture.
Meta is yet to release any official statement on the development.
Contractors were informed that they could ‘reapply for any job‘ within the next two weeks, but that their current work would be finished by September 2, and will be paid until October 3.
When a worker asked about how the laid-off workers were selected, Accenture representatives told cited an algorithm that selected people randomly but did not give any specific reasons for the job cuts.
Companies firing employees using algorithms
This is not the first time that employees have been fired by an algorithm. According to Game Designer, 150 employees at Xsolla, a company offering payment processing services for the gaming industry, were laid off in August 2021. The algorithm labeled them ‘unengaged’ and ‘unproductive’.
Zuckerberg stated in June that the company would be “turning up heat” on performance management to get rid of employees who are unable to achieve more ambitious goals.
He surprised everyone with his bold statement.
“Realistically speaking, there are probably many people at the company that shouldn’t be,” Zuckerberg said.
In May, Meta revealed its plans of seizing hiring. Zuckerberg, however, stated during a Q&A session that he would rather hire 30% fewer engineers. Instead of hiring 10,000 people, Meta would hire between 6,000-7,000.
Meta is not the first company that has laid off contract workers. Quite recently, Apple let go of many contract-based recruiters following the warnings that it would slow down hiring and spending.
According to Bloomberg, Apple fired about 100 employees who were responsible for hiring and vetting new employees over the past week.
Last month, Apple also warned its employees that it would slow down spending and hiring in certain divisions from next year.
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, announced in May that he would lay off 10% of his salaried employees. He suspected not-so-favoring business conditions and having a ‘super bad feeling about the economy.
Netflix, which lost 1.2 million subscribers during the first half of the year, reduced its headcount by 450 between May and June.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also shifted gears to slow down the pace of hiring in the remainder of the year.
Amazon is said to be reducing the number of hourly workers through attrition and has recently stopped the construction of six new buildings in Bellevue, Nashville, and Nashville.
All the big tech giants have braced up for the worst business conditions in the quarters to come. Be Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, or Google, every company has indicated that though days are ahead and companies must brace for the impact.