Silicon Valley VC Keith Rabois of the so-called PayPal Mafia told a banking event earlier this month that Big Tech companies like Meta and Google had hired thousands of people to do “fake work” to hit hiring metrics out of “vanity”—and to stop them working for rivals.
Speaking following layoffs at Google owner Alphabet (12,000) and Meta (11,000 in November and a further 10,000 this month), Insider reported Rabois saying that, “There’s nothing for these people to do—it’s all fake work. Now that’s being exposed, what do these people actually do, they go to meetings.”
According to one former member of Meta’s staff, Rabois’s theory is absolutely true.
Former Meta employee Brit Levy has taken to TikTok to share her “weird” experience in Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant. In a video which has now amassed more than one million views, Levy explained: “I was hired in April 2022, three days after I was hired we were asked to take a diversity survey.
“Everyone else that I worked with got to work on stuff but I didn’t. So I am one of those employees that was hired into a really strange position where they immediately put me into a group of individuals that was not working.
“I mean like we were just sitting there. We had to basically fight to find work. It was a very strange environment and it kind of seemed that Meta was hiring people so that other companies couldn’t have us and they were just hoarding us like Pokemon cards.”
Meta did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
‘Year of efficiency’
Levy’s TikTok comes after Mark Zuckerberg has embarked on a “year of efficiency” at Meta, saying the company is “going to be more proactive about cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be as crucial”.
Beyond a turbulent economic outlook, inflation and Fed rate hikes, Meta has also had to deal with slowing advertising revenue at the company At the same time, investors and Meta shareholders have grown critical of Zuckerberg’s decision to steer the company into uncharted waters with his metaverse push, first announced in late 2021.
Responding to a comment from a viewer who said that getting paid to do nothing sounded “awesome”, in another video Levy countered that the practice was actually “really screwing up” people’s careers.
The mom-of-two explained: “It’s not really getting paid to do nothing, you’re getting paid to put your career on hold. You’re getting paid a temporary salary that is going to potentially reduce your lifetime earning potential.
“A lot of people turned down other very legitimate good opportunities or they left really good jobs to go to Meta and get in these jobs. Then when they were not doing anything it’s like ‘Okay what is going to happen? I’m not learning new skills, I’m not working on projects.’
“It puts you in the position where it’s really difficult to get another job. It’s a trade-off and it sounds great but it’s going to really screw up people’s careers.”
Killing time in the metaverse
Levy previously told Insider she was hired on Meta’s Sourcer Development Program, a 12-month program that helps workers from underrepresented groups enter the corporate technology recruiting industry. Beginning the program in April, she was laid off after just six months and claims she refused to sign a severance package.
She said people in the program were assigned to different teams, with hers happening to be one of those with a small workload. As a result, she said, she spent her time getting to know employees across the company.
“The participants of the program got placed on different teams throughout Meta,” she explained. “The people on those teams were full time employees who had been with Meta for years—and those people weren’t doing anything.
“I had all the time in the world to just message random people: engineers, program managers, project managers. I messaged them and had a 15 to 20 minute conversation about what they did all day and they would tell me they weren’t working on anything either.
“We also had groups of people that were doing this thing called dog fooding which is where you just volunteer to metaquest, go into the metaverse and look and see if you can run into any bugs or glitches and then just report on it. A bunch of people were doing this because we had nothing to do.”