Meta Platforms is carrying out “quiet layoffs” at Facebook to reduce its headcount as global headwinds and falling ad spends pose serious troubles for big tech companies.

According to a Business Insider report, before a recent weekly Q&A session between the staff and chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg, executives told directors across the company they should select at least 15% of their teams to be labeled as “needs support” in an internal review process.

The selective restructuring can lead to a possible layoff of around 15% of the workforce, or around 12,000 employees.

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The potential layoffs were disclosed last week in a post by Meta worker on Blind, an app popular among tech workers that requires a valid company email address to use anonymously, the report said.

“These 15% will likely be put on PIP (performance improvement plan) and be let go,” the person wrote, leading to a debate among Meta workers on how many people would be sacked.

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Under Facebook’s employee-review process, someone who is “in need of support” is considered to be performing below the benchmark goals. Such employees are put on a PIP, which often results in layoffs.

Facebook workers are bracing for layoffs for months since the social media networking giant announced a hiring freeze and subsequent restructuring as recession fears loomed large across the globe.

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At its peak, Meta’s stock price touched $380 per share. But in the last year, the company stock price has slumped 60%.

Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that the social network is freezing hiring across the board, warning that more layoffs are in the pipeline. He made these comments during an internal call to employees, according to the report.

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During the last Meta earnings call, Zuckerberg mentioned that “Our plan is to steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year. Many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas.”

Meta is laying off employees to cut costs amid the economic downturn, apparently putting some of them on traditional 30 to 60 “lists” to find a new role within the company or leave.

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Admitting that the company has entered an economic downturn that will have a broad impact on the digital advertising business, Zuckerberg said that many “teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas inside the company”.