Tech sector employment took a hit this week, with Twitter firing roughly half of its employees last week and Meta Platforms, operator of Facebook and Instagram, reportedly planning widespread layoffs.
About a quarter of the 30 employees at the Twitter Korea have received notifications that they will be laid off, Donga Ilbo and others reported, while Facebook Korea said they not been alerted of any related measures as of Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that the parent company of Facebook is set to lay off thousands of its employees, in light of having nearly $80 billion wiped off its stock value last month.
“In 2023, we’re going to focus our investments on a small number of high-priority growth areas. ... So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying.
Zuckerberg has noted that he wanted his company to be considered a “metaverse company” rather than a social media company, despite growing to a multinational behemoth through the popular online platform.
While it is unclear how much Facebook Korea would be affected by the impending layoffs, or to what the scale of the overall layoffs would be, the mass firing of Twitter employees could face legal challenges.
Local media including Media Today reported that all three members of its communication team have been sacked and that its contract with a local PR agency had also been terminated.
Legal experts here have noted that even the offices of foreign-based companies are subject to South Korean laws when they operate on Korean soil. Article 24 of the Labor Standards Act states that there must be an “urgent managerial necessity” for sacking staff and the employer shall make every effort to avoid it.
It also states that employees should be informed of such action at least 50 days before the intended day of such a dismissal.
Some of the 7,500 Twitter employees that had been fired in the US have filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in San Francisco, saying that the company did not give them the requisite notice.