The woes of The Zuck are mounting.
Facebook was already facing investigations by the Security and Exchanges Commission triggered by whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has made waves with her congressional testimony and the many damaging news stories being reported about Facebook based on the documents she released. Before these documents became the Facebook Papers, Haugen also handed them to the SEC as part of a whistleblower complaint against the company.
Shortly after (as in the next day) Facebook and its properties went offline for hours, supposedly due to an issue caused by an engineer's error made during routine maintenance of its network of data centers. The timing was oddly coincidental.
The company was recently charged with doing little-to-nothing to curb hate speech in many of its major markets, including India.
And, the companies Instagram platform is now under investigation as toxic for teenage girls, based on leaked internal documents.
All of this is bad news.
Recently, and - again perhaps purely coincidentally - CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its name. Because... well, maybe it was the equivalent of how some rug stores are constantly "going out of business" and then reopening with a slightly different name.
The new name? Meta. Because you can't make some things up.
The claim is that the name change, which was announced at the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference, reflects the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. Of course, to build it, you have to have people. Lots, and lots, of people.
And Now: "Why Hiring is Hard"
A few hours ago, an internal memo leaked from the company called "Why Hiring is Hard Right Now" was published on Protocol, an industry-focused trade publication. According to the article:
"All of our tech sites are under pressure right now since we maxed our recruiting feasibility. All of you are now starting to experience that major imbalance between supply and demand — and it doesn't feel good. We are experiencing growth pains," the unnamed leader wrote in the memo.
Facebook struggled particularly to recruit Bay-Area based engineers who are designated IC5 level and above in late 2020 and early 2021, according to data in the memo. Just above 50% of engineers accepted job offers for those roles in the first quarter of 2021 — 171 of 320 offers — compared to a median above 65% in 2020. "We've dropped to pre-2020 levels on the offer accept rate for IC5+ Bay Area engineers," the unnamed leader wrote in the memo. "We're seeing a bit of downward pressure in (Seattle) as well. Why? We're still figuring it out."
"The core issue was the incentive to 'do the right thing' for Facebook Inc engineering (i.e. invest more outside the Bay Area) wasn't always strong enough to outweigh the imperative managers felt to hire wherever or however they could to meet the immediate needs of their team," according to the memo. Efforts to address the issue with internal nudges or communications "never worked consistently and many fire drills were run," which then angered Zuckerberg.
Mars Needs Guitars, and Facebook Needs Engineers
This, on the heels of the announcement that to build the metaverse Zuck is envisioning, the company would need to recruit an additional 10,000 engineers across the EU.
“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook’s most pressing priorities,” according to the blog post from Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, vice president of central products.
Facebook’s recruiters are targeting Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland for the hiring drive. This, despite increasingly clear struggles at recruiting talent, and rumors of internal exoduses from the company
Because who doesn't love a challenge, right?
You made the right choice. As a former HR FB, employee from 2016-2019, I can honestly say with confidence working there destroyed my mental health and life.— Kristine Sato (@ksato_phillips) October 28, 2021
RNN routinely reaches out to Facebook for comment on issues around recruitment. And, routinely, never hears back. If we happen to hear more, we'll update.
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