A potential return-to-work mandate from Meta Platforms META is signaling the possibility of further employee exits from the social media giant, as major tech companies grapple with finding the equilibrium between remote and in-office work arrangements.
This potential backlash against the mandate could be another chapter in Meta’s ongoing narrative of internal challenges, illustrated by a 2010 email from co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg that made the rounds on social media earlier this year.
What Happened: The confidential 2010 email addressed concerns about the company’s work culture and the treatment of employees under Zuckerberg’s leadership, in response to a TechCrunch article alleging Facebook’s development of a mobile phone, a claim Zuckerberg denied.
“It is frustrating and destructive that anyone here thought it was okay to say this to anyone outside the company. This was an act of betrayal. The fact that the story was inaccurate doesn’t make it any better,” Zuckerberg said in an email that was marked as confidential, do not share.
Zuckerberg said that he had to spend a lot “cleaning up the damage from this mess.”
“Even now, we’re in a more precarious position with companies in the mobile space who should be our partners because they now think we’re competitors.”
In the letter, Zuckerberg laid out a solution for the leaker in question.
“So I’m asking whoever leaked this to resign immediately. If you believe that it’s ever appropriate to leak internal information, you should leave. If you don’t resign, we will almost certainly find out who you are anyway.”
The Facebook CEO went on to say that the company “promotes openness and transparency.”
“Let’s commit to maintaining complete confidentiality about the company — no exceptions. If you can’t handle that, then just leave. We have too much social good to build to have to deal with this.”
Why It’s Important: While the email is over 10 years old, it could share parallels with the current place Meta Platforms finds itself in, cutting jobs and upsetting employees.
Meta Platforms announced 11,000 job cuts, representing around 13% of its workforce, in November 2022.
Zuckerberg took accountability for the layoffs and called them the “most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history.”
“I want to take accountability for these decisions and how we got here,” Zuckerberg said. “I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially worried for those impacted.”
Zuckerberg acknowledged increasing hiring and investments with the impact of COVID-19 leading to more people spending time online and e-commerce sales increasing, both benefitting Meta Platforms.
“I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
In March, Meta Platforms announced it was laying off an additional 10,000 employees in a move that could save the company $5 billion.
The new work from office three days a week requirements could add to potential pushback, with some employees likely feeling a sense of distrust, and it’s changing their daily routines and commuting timeline.
Some elements of this story were previously reported by Benzinga and it has been updated.
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