Facebook parent Meta is planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week that will affect thousands of employees, the Wall Street Journal has reported citing people familiar with the matter.

It said that an announcement is planned as early as Wednesday.

Meta declined to comment on the WSJ report.

The company employs 83,500 people globally, with over 3,000 direct employees in this country, while a further 6,000 people support its services here.

In October Meta forecasted a weak fourth quarter and significantly more costs next year wiping about $67 billion off Meta's stock market value, adding to the more than half a trillion dollars in value already lost this year.

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The disappointing outlook comes as Meta is contending with slowing global economic growth, competition from TikTok, privacy changes from Apple, concerns about massive spending on the metaverse and the ever-present threat of regulation.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects the metaverse investments to take about a decade to bear fruit.

In the meantime, he has had to freeze hiring, shutter projects and reorganize teams to trim costs.

"In 2023, we're going to focus our investments on a small number of high priority growth areas," Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call in late October.

"So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year. In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today."

The social media company had in June cut plans to hire engineers by at least 30%, with Zuckerberg warning employees to brace for an economic downturn.

Meta's shareholder Altimeter Capital Management in an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg had previously said the company needs to streamline by cutting jobs and capital expenditure, adding that Meta has lost investor confidence as it ramped up spending and pivoted to the metaverse.

Several technology companies, including Microsoft, Twitter and Snap have cut jobs and scaled back hiring in recent months as global economic growth slows due to higher interest rates, rising inflation and an energy crisis in Europe.