Meta wants to be more ruthless. He can’t fall back into his old ways

Meta (META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told company employees that the social media giant’s already abysmal performance over the past year could get worse and that if they don’t think they can reach their own goals, they should head for the door.

Zuckerberg made his comments during Meta’s weekly employee Q&A session, according to Reuters, and said he was raising worker expectations and setting more aggressive goals.

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox made similar statements in an internal memo seen by Reuters, saying the company needed to “prioritize more ruthlessly”.

But Meta will have to be careful of its ruthless operation. After all, his early motto of “move fast and smash things” has come to haunt him over the years since he’s been accused of everything from losing user data to spreading hate speech and misinformation on its platforms.

And with an all-out effort to rebound from its current lows, stocks have been splitting since the start of the year, Meta and Zuckerberg could open themselves up to bigger unforeseen controversies down the line.

Meta moved too fast before

Back when Meta was known as Facebook — though let’s face it, it still is — the company was known for continually expanding its operations at an incredible rate. It created new timeline algorithms, provided more ways to interact with other users, enabled the use of individual user groups, and gave advertisers the ability to reach seemingly anyone they could. hope to market their products.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to stem the company’s haemorrhage amid a mix of ongoing hits to its bottom line. But if he’s not careful, he could find himself back in old habits that have spawned a host of controversies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

But this huge feature explosion has helped create some of Meta’s biggest controversies, including Cambridge Analytica, which saw a political consultancy hijack the data of millions of users to help elect Donald Trump; a parade of data leaks; live-streamed terrorist attacks, digital housing redlining allegations and antitrust violation charges.

And then, of course, there’s competition from TikTok and Snap, which are driving younger users away from Meta’s own platforms.

The Meta era is a bust so far

But it won’t be easy for Meta to turn things around. The company pulled out all the stops to transition from a social media business to a metaverse first venture in October 2021, when it announced it was changing its name from Facebook to Meta and focusing on setting up a new metaverse platform and new helmets.

But a disastrous mix of privacy changes to Apple’s iOS, the war in Ukraine, ongoing supply chain issues and the broader economic downturn have hit the company, sending its market valuation plummeting and shaking confidence in the tech giant.

Year-to-date, Meta shares have fallen more than 50% from $338.54 to $158.15 shortly after markets opened in New York on Friday. That’s an outrageous decline compared to the Nasdaq (^IXIC), which is down 29% year-to-date, and the S&P 500 (^GSPC), which is down 20.5%.

Meta’s share price is also in a class of its own among tech giants. Even Amazon (AMZN), which posted losses of $7.56 per share in the first quarter, is doing better in the public markets, with shares down about 35%.

Zuckerberg also warns of big trouble ahead, telling employees in his memo that the economic downturn could be one of the worst downturns in recent history.

It doesn’t help that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) has limited Meta’s ability to collect user data across apps, making it harder to sell ads, or that the issues supply chain problems and the war in Ukraine are hurting advertising budgets around the world.

As the company seeks to apply a tourniquet to its injured actions and grow at all costs, it will need to ensure that it does not fall back into old habits and spark a new round of controversy.

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Do you have any advice? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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