Mark Zuckerberg has spent the last nine months against the ropes as his company has made big cuts to its work force and struggled to gain mainstream traction with its ambitious plans for virtual reality.
He told Meta employees how he planned to get the company back on track. In an all-hands meeting, Zuckerberg offered an explanation for recent layoffs and for the first time laid out a vision for how Meta’s work in artificial intelligence (AI) would blend with its plans for the virtual reality it calls the metaverse.
Zuckerberg’s talk was an attempt to rally staff after the most tumultuous period in his firm’s 19-year history. The chief executive said he made “tough decisions” about layoffs with the goal of “building a better technology company” that shipped better products, faster — something he believed Meta wasn’t doing well as it swelled to over 80,000 employees at the peak of the pandemic.
“I want us to use this period that’s going to be a bit more stable in order to evolve and rebuild our culture,” he said, according to sources who shared remarks and a recording with The New York Times.
The meeting also included presentations from other Meta executives, like Andrew Bosworth, the chief technology officer, and Chris Cox, the chief product officer. Cox detailed Meta’s plans for making improve-ments to Instagram Reels, to better take on TikTok. Executives also spoke about Project 92, a long-rumoured app in development at Meta that will function similar to Twitter.
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Zuckerberg detailed plans for artificially intelligent assistants that aid people across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
He said Meta would work on creating AI models that were accessible to more people than those of his company’s competitors and, ultimately, would fit into his plans for the metaverse. He envisioned AI assistants that help people “create content to express yourself and your ideas so much better,” or perhaps some AI version of “a coach that gives you advice, encourages you.”
Zuckerberg defended Meta’s strategy. He said open-source software enables greater outside scrutiny because it can be seen by millions of technologists. He also said he hoped for a world where people could build as many different AI programs as they wanted, rather than relying on a few provided by two or three large technology firms.
Plans improvement to Instagram reels
AI assistants across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram
Developing Project 92, an app similar to Twitter