Tech industry clawed by crisis: Layoff of Swiss drone-hunting eagles followed by Meta's 11,000 employees

Meta, Twitter employees, and eagles all appear to be in the same boat.
Baba Tamim
A royal eagle catches a drone during flight during a military exercise at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase, southwestern France, on February 10, 2017.
A royal eagle catches a drone during flight during a military exercise at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase, southwestern France, on February 10, 2017.

GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images 

Drone-hunting eagles have reportedly been laid-off by the Swiss government due to concerns about the welfare of the birds, which awkwardly follows the recent tech industry layoffs, including Meta's announcement on November 9 to let go of more than 11000 employees. 

The anticipated 2022 tech layoffs have not just dug their claws into drone-grounding eagles that were employed to hunt down the technology, but the tech industry itself, according to an article by Gizmodo on Tuesday.

"The technological and strategic improvements in terms of the use of drones make this project using raptors too uncertain, even dangerous for the physical integrity of the eagles," the Geneva Cantonal Police told the Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche.

The decision to abandon the project has disappointed Geneva's Falco Association, the falconry organization that had been training two eagles named Altar and Draco for the venture.

"This represents around 100,000 francs (U.S. $101,539) of investment and hundreds of hours of work," said Umberto Nassisi, the leader of the association. 

The goal of the five-year project, which began in 2017, was to teach raptors how to catch drones in the air without letting them crash into the ground.

Le Matin Dimanche reported that Geneva police will now focus on anti-drone tactics similar to those used by the adjacent canton of Vaud, a mountainous region in western Switzerland, which included signal jamming, detection devices, and the use of net guns.

Layoffs haunting the tech industry, not just the eagles 

Many well-known tech companies, including Twitter, have recently announced layoffs. And soon Meta, the Facebook parent company, will join the bandwagon, according to Washington Post's (WP) anonymous source. 

After months of warnings from executives, Meta is prepared to go with significant layoffs, as per the source. 

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Due to the unstable market caused by growing inflation, digital advertisers are cutting down on expenditure. And particular post COVID markets are finding other alternatives on social media. 

Specifically, TikTok and Snapchat, two relatively new social media competitors, are putting increasing pressure on Meta to compete for consumers and advertising dollars. 

And, particularly when Apple established privacy limitations that obliged app manufacturers to explicitly ask users if they may follow their online activities throughout the internet, a request many denied, the targeted advertising strategies that helped Meta grow into an economic giant took a knock.

True source: Meta to layoff more than 11000 employees

Twitter's employment layoffs might reflect Musk's unique ambitions for the company, but other technology firms have begun cutting costs in anticipation of a potential downturn in the economy. 

The ride-hailing company Lyft announced plans to lay off 13 percent of its workforce. Stripe, an online payment startup, will reduce employment by 14 percent. Private financial company Chime will reduce staff by 12 percent. 

Both the crowdfunding website GoFundMe and the real estate marketplace Zillow announced layoffs in October, with percentages of 5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, noted WP.

While speaking about the company's growth by the end of 2023, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, stated in October that the company would be "either the same size or even a slightly smaller organization."

However, on Wednesday, the information provided by WP proved to be accurate; while addressing his employees in a letter, Zuckerberg wrote: 

"Today, I'm sharing some of the most difficult changes we've made in Meta's history. I've decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13 percent and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go." 

"We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1 [quarter one]," he said.

Meta, Twitter employees, and eagles all appear to be in the same boat in 2022.

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