Facebook-parent Meta is laying off employees from its metaverse custom silicon unit, according to a news report.
The layoffs affecting Facebook’s Agile Silicon Team or FAST, as known internally in the company, were announced at a Workplace forum, Reuters cited sources as saying.
One of the sources told Reuters the impacted employees would be notified of their status by Wednesday morning without specifying an approximate percentage or number of planned job cuts.
FAST is home to nearly 600 Facebook employees, according to the report. An email sent to the company enquiring about the layoffs and the reason behind them went unanswered.
The job cuts at FAST come just days after the company released its Quest 3 mixed reality headsets, which are expected to offer a metaverse play.
Metaverse is a Facebook-developed concept for virtual environments, based on real-life locations or activities that offer immersive experiences for users. Headsets, such as the Quest 3, are key to such experiences since the user has to put them on to enter such environments.
The decision to lay off staffers from FAST seems even more significant as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been promoting the company’s metaverse play over the last few years.
FAST itself was a result of the company’s decision to design chips for metaverse devices that differentiate its products from competition, especially in terms of form factor or bulkiness of the headsets, and also reduce its dependence on mass chipmakers such as Qualcomm.
Also, having complete control over its chips and software to run the headsets would make a case for better integration, most likely resulting in a better user experience.
This is not the first time that the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp parent has announced layoffs this year.
In March, the company said it would be cutting 10,000 jobs and leaving 5,000 vacant roles unfilled. During the same time, Zuckerberg had said that these cuts, for a small number of cases, may be processed throughout the year.
Last year in November, Meta said it would cut thousands of jobs, impacting 13% of its global workforce. At the time, Reality Labs, the division responsible for developing the Metaverse, saw its revenue fall by almost half from a year earlier.
In the third quarter of the last financial year, Reality Labs suffered a revenue loss of $3.7 billion, bringing its total yearly losses to $9.4 billion, with Meta anticipating these losses would “grow significantly year over year” in 2023.