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December 30, 2022

Big Tech job cuts hit Amazon, Meta, Salesforce – November 2022 in review

Big Tech went big on job cuts, while the FTX collapse raised questions about the stability of the cryptocurrency sector.

By Matthew Gooding

We take a look at a gloomy month which saw some of the industry’s biggest names make mass redundancies.

November was characterised by job cuts at some of the biggest names in tech, as businesses began to tighten their belts in the face of difficult economic conditions.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and Amazon, announced that 11,000 and 10,000 workers respectively would be let go in the biggest redundancy rounds, but other businesses including TwitterSalesforce, Lyft, StripeMicrosoft, and Tencent also let staff go amid uncertain economic conditions, poor advertising performance and a bleak outlook for 2023. Cheery stuff.

Mark Zuckerberg faced questions after Meta announced mass layoffs (pic: Frederic Legrand – COMEO/Shutterstock)

For Meta, the scale of the cuts put the focus on founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition is for his business to be the “metaverse company”, supplying technology and services for a future where social and business interactions take place in virtual worlds. So far this has proved a costly decision, with Meta’s metaverse technologies division, Reality Labs, losing $9bn in the last year alone.

Zuckerberg remains committed to the metaverse project, but following the Meta layoffs, told staff: “At the start of Covid, the world rapidly moved online and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth.

“Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected.”

FTX downfall begins as Binance rescue package is withdrawn

Crypto’s winter of discontent was in full swing in November as Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire began to crumble.

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The FTX exchange suffered what was at the time termed a “liquidity crunch”, with users withdrawing funds from the platform in their droves. Though rival exchange Binance initially stepped in with a rescue package, this was withdrawn 24 hours later after due diligence had been carried out on the platform. News of the Binance deal going south caused FTX to finally collapse.

Bankman-Fried, the company’s founder and CEO, and other FTX executives are now facing criminal charges in the US over claims of fraudulent activity relating to user funds.

Despite the troubles experienced by FTX and others, members of the UK’s crypto community told a committee of MPs there was no inherent problem with the sector or its technology. Ian Taylor, CEO of trade organisation CryptoUK, said FTX’s problems stemmed from bad governance, and called for joined-up regulation of the sector to be instigated by the government.

“We’ve been advocating for the last four years in the UK for a more joined-up collaborative approach at government,” Taylor said. “Perhaps a ‘tsar’, somebody who can move across different departments and understands the complex nature of some of the technology to bring together all of the departments looking at regulating the sector.”

More from November 2022: Nexperia’s take-over of Newport Wafer Fab blocked on national security grounds

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