Meta workers are bracing for thousands of additional layoffs as the embattled social media firm continues to cut costs.

A new round of layoffs began on Wednesday, according to a report from CNBC that was confirmed by Meta. The company will cull 4,000 jobs immediately as part of a larger plan to cut 10,000 jobs announced earlier this year, focusing largely on technical roles.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the layoffs come as part of the company’s “year of efficiency” – a plan to cut costs as Meta struggles to monetize its ambitious virtual reality venture, the metaverse.

The company reported a peak of 87,000 employees globally in 2022, after a hiring spree that escalated after the Covid pandemic sent online activity booming.

In recent months, however, Meta’s operations have struggled , with investors wiping $80bn (£69bn) off the company’s market value in October after a poor earnings report.

In November, the company laid off 11,000 workers. Combined with today’s cut, Meta is on track to cut about 21,000 jobs and has implemented a hiring freeze for most new roles. While these cuts target technical workers, Zuckerberg said in late May additional layoffs would affect business groups.

“A leaner org will execute its highest priorities faster,” Zuckerberg said at the time. “People will be more productive, and their work will be more fun and fulfilling. We will become an even greater magnet for the most talented people. That’s why in our year of efficiency, we are focused on canceling projects that are duplicative or lower priority and making every organization as lean as possible.”

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The layoffs come at a time of a broader downturn in the space, with other tech giants including Google, Tesla and Amazon implementing hiring freezes and cuts. The slump has been attributed to many factors as the uncertain economy collides with years of unfettered growth and pandemic-fueled hiring sprees. Amid the turmoil, investors will be watching closely as Meta reports its first quarter earnings results next week.

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