“I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here,” tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg told the 11,000 staff he sacked this week.
But does he really?
The retrenchment of about 13% of the workforce at Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram, comes as Zuckerberg’s ambitions for a “metaverse” tank.
The company’s net income in the third quarter of 2022 (July to September) was $4.4 billion – less than half the $9.2 billion it made in the same period in 2021.
That’s due to a 5% decline in total revenue and a 20% increase in costs, as the Facebook creator invested in his idea of “an embodied internet – where, instead of just viewing content, you are in it” and readied for a post-Covid boom that never came.
Since he changed the company’s name to Meta a year ago, its stock price has fallen more than 70%, from $345 to $101.
Selling is really all the majority of shareholders can do. They are powerless to exert any real influence on Zuckerberg, the company’s chairman and chief executive.
If this had happened to a typical listed company, the chief executive would be under serious pressure from shareholders. But Zuckerberg, who owns about 13.6% of Meta shares, is entrenched due to what is known as a dual-class share structure.