At Meta, an algorithm fires employees at random

About sixty employees of Mark Zuckerberg’s company saw their contract come to an end after the random decision of an autonomous algorithm.

Meta may have changed its name last year, Mark Zuckerberg’s group continues to chain scandals. The latest — and not the least — was reported by the site Business Insider a few days ago, and looks like an episode of black-mirror. The web giant would have used a artificial intelligence to randomly dismiss around sixty of its employeesall employees of the Accenture company to whom he subcontracted the moderation of certain content.

A robot that fires people randomly

In addition to being a priori totally random, these dismissals would also have been announced during a videoconference with the company’s team. The method remains legal in the United States, but has been the subject of much criticism, in particular because of the psychological impact that such a brutal and arbitrary announcement could have on employee morale. Remember that in the game of automated management, Meta does not have a monopoly: last year, a survey carried out by Bloomberg indeed revealed that Amazon was also relying on artificial intelligence to dismiss the delivery people it considered to be the least efficient.

Ever more efficient employees

Whether it’s Amazon or Meta, the main purpose of using an algorithm to fire its employees is to ensure a profitability still on the rise. Mark Zuckerberg’s firm announced at the end of July a quarterly turnover down for the first time in its history. If the company hopes to remain competitive thanks to the development of its metaverse, it has been forced to slow down its rate of recruitment, and to part with certain employees.

At the beginning of the summer, an internal memo signed by Chris Cox, the company’s product manager, had also been distributed, evoking a difficult future for the Meta group, which would quickly see itself forced to increase the productivity of its teams. In parallel, Mark Zuckerberg had declared “By raising expectations, setting bigger goals, and ratcheting up the pressure a bit, I hope some of you decide this place isn’t for you, and I agree with that self-selection.“.

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