Facebook parent Meta Platforms has reacted quickly to quash a media report that suggested a major change in leadership at the social network.

The Leak, citing an unnamed “insider source” reported that Zuckerberg has decided to step down in 2023, but his decision “will not affect metaverse”.

It comes as Zuckerberg remains under intense pressure. Earlier this month he confirmed reports of large-scale job losses at Meta in an open letter to staff. Zuckerberg admitted that the job losses was “some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history.”

Intense pressure

He confirmed that Meta will reduce its workforce “by about 13 percent and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go.”

This admission came after shareholder Altimeter Capital Management in an open letter in October urged Meta to streamline operations by cutting jobs.

Altimeter also urged the CEO to reduce capital expenditure, and warned Zuckerberg that Meta had lost investor confidence with its increased spending and its focus on relatively little-used metaverse technology.

And to make matters worse, in its third quarter results last month Meta share price had plummeted after it forecast that it would lose $10bn in ad revenue over full-year 2022 due to privacy changes by Apple that allow iPhone users to opt out of ad tracking across apps.

Meta’s share price had already fallen over 61 percent in 2022.

And there is also investor concern Zuckerberg continues to press ahead with heavy spending on the Metaverse, whilst the impact of Apple’s long expected VR or AR headset has yet to be assessed.

A recent report from noted Apple leaker mark Gruman suggested Apple’s augmented reality headset will launch next year.

Gruman also said job listings imply Apple is also working on a 3D mixed-reality world similar to the metaverse.

Zuckerberg resignation?

Amidst this challenging situation comes the Leak report, which suggested that Zuckerberg is set to resign in 2023 – which has been dismissed as “false” by a Meta spokesman.

Andy Stone of Meta’s communications team was quick to reply with a terse statement on Twitter.

“This is false,” he tweeted.

Embarrassingly for Zuckerberg, the report briefly sent Meta’s shares up 1 percent, Reuters noted.

Last year Meta’s chief operating officer and one of the most high profile woman in the tech industry, Sheryl Sandberg, stepped down after 14 years with the platform.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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