Meta abandons metavers, NFTs, and lays off 10,000 employees: the end of the frenzy?

Back to the real world for Meta. After investing billions in the metaverse and NFTs, Mark Zuckerberg has decided to refocus his efforts on social networks and artificial intelligence. Will this be enough to get the company back on track?

After a short test phase starting at the end of 2022, Meta has just announced the abandonment of NFT on Facebook and Instagram. The NFT minting and sales project or NFT sharing on Facebook will come to an end in the coming weeks.

According to StĂ©phane Kasriel, director of commerce and fintech at Meta, the company wants to refocus and review its priorities. In particular, it is abandoning NFTs for “ focus on other ways of supporting creators, people and businesses “.

In particular, the American company intends to focus on the ” areas where it can have a large-scale impact. For example, on its messaging service, the improvement of the Meta Pay payment system, or the monetization of Reels short videos.

10,000 more redundancies in the coming months

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced that 2023 would be “ the year of efficiency “for Meta, and this seems to come through abandoning the most fanciful projects to refocus on the concrete.

After laying off 11,000 employees in November 2022, i.e. 13% of its workforce, Meta has also just announced its decision to shed a further 10,000 employees in the coming months and to withdraw 5,000 job offers.

Likewise, after having caused a stir in 2021, the concept of metavers quickly lost public interest in 2022. Although Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed his ambition at the end of the year, it seems that Meta wants to reorient itself towards another technology of the future: artificial intelligence.

This can easily be explained by the massive success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. Faced with this triumph, Microsoft rushed to invest billions to be able to integrate AI into its own products like Bing, and Google immediately launched its own Bard robot.

Like other GAFAMs (or GAMAMs?), Meta has no choice but to follow the wind. and try to compete with OpenAI. In his blog post published on March 14, 2023, Zuckerberg puts AI ahead of metaverses among the technologies the company will be focusing on.

According to him, ” our broader investment aims to advance AI and integrate it into each of our products. Our project to build the metaverse and shape the next generation of computing platforms also remains central to defining the future of social connection. “.

Already at the announcement of Meta’s financial results for the fourth quarter of 2022, Zuckerberg explained that AI was his short-term priority and that the metaverse remained his longer-term objective.

A return to reality warmly welcomed by shareholders

In conclusion, even if the metaverse remains in the crosshairs of Meta, it seems clear that the company wants to return to more concrete projects in the short term, in order to reassure its shareholders and get back on the growth track.

As a reminder the Reality Labs in charge of metaverse projects and VR projects lost $14 billion in 2022 and could lose the company a further $15 billion in 2023 and $20 billion in 2024…

Following Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on his decision to abandon NFT and prioritize AI, Meta shares immediately gained 7% on the stock market. A sign that investors seem to agree with this change of vision…

And what would you do in Mark Zuckerberg’s place at the head of a digital empire? Do you think he made the right strategic choice?