Redundancy in Meta-land…

The recent Meta announcement about staff redundancies came as no surprise to the Badger. Why? Because with Meta’s share price down by more than 60% over the last year and its metaverse ambitions a potential money pit, the Badger’s felt for a long time that the rubber would hit the road and some corrective action would be necessary. No business is immune to market, consumer, business performance, and investor realities. When a corporation takes corrective action there’s normally some downsizing of the workforce involved, and many loyal, long-serving, hardworking employees suddenly find themselves exited as quickly as the law in a particular country allows. Meta’s redundancies are a reminder that job security in any commercial organisation is wafer thin.

Social media is barely two-decades old. Its rise, as you can see here, has been phenomenal, as has its impact, both positive and negative, on the conduct of our lives. Social media companies aren’t social, not-for-profit enterprises, nor are they charities or bastions of accurate information or free speech. They are, when you cut to the chase, commercial organisations seeking to make money any way they can from information collected from their users. These points came up unexpectedly in a completely unrelated podcast the Badger was listening to this week.  They triggered the Badger to muse on how his usage of social media has changed since first establishing a presence on Facebook in 2010.  

In the first few years, the Badger and his Facebook friends followed a few organisations and regularly shared material relating to their family, local community, interests, and travel. By 2015, however, personal postings had reduced significantly as privacy awareness increased and more unwanted ‘suggested for you’ and similar clutter appeared from the ether. Personal activity on Facebook became intermittent, and then the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. Since then, the Badger and his friends’ usage of Facebook has amounted to occasional monitoring and a rare post. In our different ways we have all concluded that caution is a good policy because nothing is free in life, and that there’s more to life than being glued to social media feeds. As one friend put it, avid users are those with FOMO (fear of missing out), image conscious wannabes, and those with an ego to massage. That’s a bit strong perhaps, but it’s easy to understand the sentiment.

Richard Holway from TechMarketView  called ‘peak Facebook’ way back in 2018, and the Badger’s changed use of the platform is evidence of his wisdom. This is, of course, no comfort for the 13% of Meta’s workforce who are being made redundant. The Badger feels for them, but hopefully their skill sets will open up new opportunities with other employers and their pain will be short-lived. As for Meta overall, well the Badger senses there’s more pain ahead unless Mr Zuckerberg recognises that he might be part of the problem.

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