• Facebook is implementing an unprecedented hiring freeze in response to missed revenue targets.
  • Executives explained how this freeze will be enforced in internal memos seen by Insider.
  • Here are some key highlights from the memos.

Facebook is pausing on hiring and scaling back plans to acquire new talent across the company.

CFO David Wehner said the company, which has rebranded to Meta, is doing so as part of its "reprioritization" as it tackles challenges that caused it to miss revenue targets, according to an internal memo shared on Wednesday seen by Insider. Insider's Kali Hays and Rob Price were the first to report Facebook's hiring freeze. 

In a separate memo, Facebook's global head of recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, said the company's engineering team would be first to be impacted by these hiring decisions while management continues to adjust hiring targets elsewhere.

It's rare for Facebook to freeze hiring. The last time they did so was at the start of the pandemic as the company scrambled to put in place processes to onboard new hires, a worker there at the time told Insider.

Earlier this week, a Meta spokesperson told Insider the company "regularly re-evaluates" its hiring and "according to our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period, we are slowing its growth accordingly."

"We will continue to grow our workforce to ensure we focus on long-term impact," the spokesperson added.

Read on to see what Wehner and Kalinowski said about the unprecedented hiring freeze:

Facebook was trying to "bring the metaverse to life," but unexpected factors such as the war in Ukraine, data-privacy changes, and the easing of pandemic restrictions were pressurizing the company.

Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta last year to reflect its new focus on building its virtual "metaverse."

That project proved to be costly, with Reality Labs, the division overseeing the development of the metaverse within Facebook, losing $2.9 billion in the first quarter, Insider reported previously.

In his note on Wednesday, Wehner said that "bringing the metaverse to life" is a new growth area for Meta, together with other opportunities such as monetizing content through Instagram's new Reels function and growing its business messaging function. 

"But we also have to be responsible by responding to the unpredictable market forces that have put pressure on our business over the past few months," he continued.

Among the issues he cited included Russia's invasion of Ukraine; changes that Apple made to privacy settings on its iOS operating system last year; and a softer macroeconomic environment as factors that weakened Facebook's ability to rake in revenue.

Wehner also noted that as economies reopen after COVID-related lockdowns, "more people are spending time offline and returning to pre-pandemic spending patterns." That's causing an "industry-wide downturn," he said.

Engineering will be the first to be impacted by the freeze, while other roles and units can continue to hire actively, Kalinowski said

Kalinowski and Wehner said engineering teams would be the first to be affected by the changes. In her note, Kalinowski detailed which specific ranks and positions in engineering would be impacted. According to the memo, most of the roles are mid-level to director-level.

Beyond engineering, however, Kalinowski and Wehner said they're "still working out" what the hiring freeze means for other teams. However: "This will affect almost every team in the company," they said.

One team that won't be immediately impacted is Reality Labs, the loss-making unit in charge of building the metaverse. Kalinowski said recruiting priorities would "pivot to other hiring priorities across Product XFN, Reality Labs, and Infra."

"We will continue to actively hire for ML IC5+ candidates and IC7+ candidates across all SWE areas and will pause Director openings to assess our needs on a case by case basis," she added.

The freezes are effective immediately and are expected to affect other teams in the coming weeks, the memo said

Kalinowski said the hiring freeze on the engineering team would be  "effective immediately." 

In other cases, Facebook will be decidedly more cautious in hiring. For example, the company will not be adding any new IC6/M2 Eng candidates to the interview pipeline, said Kalinowski, as it's confident it has "enough people in [the]  process to meet our hiring goals."

While Facebook is still looking at how to adjust hiring plans for other teams, Wehner hinted that more details would be shared soon as the company starts planning for the second half of the year. 

"We're entering into the H2 planning cycle, and this will be an opportunity to reprioritize work to make sure we're all focused on the most important things and the top priorities for the company," he said.

You can read the full memo here.

Read the original article on Business Insider