Workplace Disruption Reported at Meta Amid AR and VR Push, Some Staff Defecting to Competitors Like Apple

Some Meta employees are being aggressively pushed to apply for other jobs at the company and embrace the recent drive toward augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), while others are choosing to defect to competitors such as Apple, The New York Times reports.

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Since Facebook rebranded as Meta and lauded the future of the “metaverse,” the company is said to have undergone a sweeping transformation, creating thousands of new jobs to develop hardware and software for AR and VR. More than 24 percent of Meta’s open job listings are for roles in AR or VR, but the company has ramped up its internal recruitment in recent months.

Meta is reportedly pushing its employees in products, engineering, and research to apply for new positions in the company’s expanding AR and VR teams, suggesting that employees should move in order to succeed. Other workers have been elevated from their jobs in the company’s social networking divisions to lead the same functions with an emphasis on AR and VR. Moreover, employees have purportedly been expected to adopt a positive attitude toward the metaverse and innovation in the AR and VR space, or leave the company.

Meta has also sought to poach talent from Apple and Microsoft amid the rush to bring a compelling, mainstream AR and VR experience to market. In an effort to dissuade staff from leaving, Apple has offered some of its engineers up to $180K in stock bonuses.

The result of this transformation has been severe internal disruption at Meta, according to current and former employees speaking to The New York Times. While some workers were excited about Meta’s new direction, others have taken issue with the company’s approach toward employees and questioned whether the company was sidelining existing problems.

One former Instagram employee resigned from his role after feeling that his work would no longer be of value to the company, while another said that they thought Meta was not best placed to create the metaverse and was looking for a job at a competitor as a result.

What Meta’s pivot toward AR and VR means for Facebook and Instagram seemingly remains in flux, but the teams working on these two social media platforms are said to have shrunk over the past four months and are facing budget cuts. A spokesperson for Meta said that there have been no “significant” job cuts to existing teams because of the company’s new direction.

Meta’s vision for AR and VR is set to face fierce competition. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all looking to launch mainstream AR and VR devices in the near future, while Samsung is said to have neglected the space due to an “obsession” with foldable smartphones. Apple’s first mixed-reality headset is rumored to be facing development problems, which could postpone the device’s launch until next year.

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