As Meta prepares for another round of lay-offs as part of its focus on improving operational efficiency, cracks are beginning to appear within its operational framework, with problems arising in ad ops, content moderation, and more over time.
Meta has been working to reduce its staff overheads, as part of its ‘Year of Efficency’ focus, which comes in response to worsening global market conditions, which have led to a significant reduction in Facebook and Instagram ad spend. Meta also continues to invest billions into its next-level metaverse experience - and in order to maintain its focus on this element, it needs to better rationalize staff, and ensure that it’s spending in key areas, as opposed to more experimental and speculative projects.
Already, Meta has cut 11,000 roles – or 13% of its workforce – with another 10,000 cuts coming over the next few months, the next wave of which is set to be implemented sometime this week. And according to The Washington Post, Meta insiders are increasingly concerned that these latest cuts will impact its content moderation and safety processes, which could limit Meta’s efforts on this front.
As per The Washington Post:
“At least a half-dozen current and former Meta employees who have worked on trust and safety issues say severe cuts in those divisions could hamper the company’s ability to respond to viral political misinformation, foreign influence campaigns and regulatory challenges. They say they worry that the layoffs - which are expected to hit the company’s business division harder than engineering - could make Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp more dangerous at a time of particularly acute geopolitical concern.”
Indeed, Facebook has long been the focus of investigations into political manipulation and messaging, and while it has improved its systems since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016, the concern now is that if it lets up, we could see a resurgence in misuse for similar purposes.
Meta has increasingly leaned on AI to help address such, which is also improving, and may well now be at the stage where Meta can more safely put more reliance on such systems over human verification. But it’s a risky premise, which could lead to a new wave of concerns stemming from Facebook campaigns.
On another front, ad buyers are reporting increasing and ongoing errors with Meta’s ad systems, following a major Facebook Ads error last month that caused significant campaign overspend.
A month later, Meta’s still in the process of applying corrections as a result of this glitch, while marking teams are also experiencing ongoing problems in updating ad sets, correcting system errors, editing, etc.
For most users, both Meta and Twitter aren’t experiencing a heap of external problems as a result of reduced oversight due to major staff reductions at both apps. But internally, these issues do appear to be stacking up, which is causing major headaches in specific usage, and reduced performance for paid campaigns.
Will that get worse this week when Meta culls another few thousand jobs?
Its apps are still functional, things are still going, all of the moving parts are still rolling through. But the back-end problems could have expanded impacts, which could cause further problems in the near future.