Layoffs reach over 67% of last year’s figure in Q1 of 2023

Godfrey Elimian
Layoffs hits over 67% of 2022 figure in Q1 of 2023, as EU Commission bans TikTok for staffs
Layoffs hits over 67% of 2022 figure in Q1 of 2023, as EU Commission bans TikTok for staffs

Hello there,

It is with mixed feelings I bring you this week’s edition of the global roundup of tech news. Recent data has shown how many persons have lost their jobs this year compared to last year, as layoffs in the tech space persist. 2023 has been shocking for many and filled with many unanswered questions about why the trend persists.

According to statistics released, it was discovered that there have been over 108,000 layoffs of tech workers so far in just the opening two months of the year. According to the layoff tracker, this figure represents about 67.2% of the total amount of tech layoffs recorded in the whole of last year: 160,997.

But it’s not all bad news, particularly for many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is because Netflix has slashed the prices of its subscription plans, thereby giving its users more value for its cost.

We have curated these and other articles for you to read ahead of the weekend.

Summary of the bulletin

  • The tech industry has laid off 108,346 workers so far in 2023
  • Netflix has slashed prices for customers in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Meta launches new paid verification feature for Instagram and Facebook
  • Whatsapp is testing a newsletter feature for users
  • The European Commission has banned its employees from using TikTok on their smartphones

Read also: Microsft restricts Bing AI chats after disturbing conversations

Tech layoffs hit 67% of 2022’s figure in 2023 Q1

It appears that 2023 is flowing the tide of regression, just as many people hoped it would be a year of recovery for the global tech ecosystem.

This results from the devastating wave of layoffs that have left many people without jobs and forced major tech companies like Google, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft to reduce their workforces concurrently.

Layoffs reach 67% of 2022 figure in just Q1

The tech industry has laid off 108,346 workers so far in 2023, per data from Layoffs.fyi, a website that tracks job losses in the tech sector. This represents about 67.2% of the total amount of tech layoffs recorded last year: 160,997, according to the layoff tracker.

This long-lasting ‘tech winter’ has not only kicked thousands of people out of jobs, but also has negative health effects on the affected workers. Research has found that layoffs increase the odds of suicide by two and a half times. Job cuts equally increase people’s stress.

The string of layoffs shaking up the global tech industry is attributed mainly to uncertain economic conditions. Analysts have also said that the job cuts are a form of belt-tightening for companies that hired aggressively in the wake of the pandemic.

The trend has set a surge of fear in employees’ hearts still with their jobs, as they continue to hope that the remainder of the year does not mean more job cuts or affect their source of livelihood.

Netflix slashes prices for some customers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Netflix has announced a reduction in its monthly subscription fees for Kenya and some other countries in the sub-Saharan region of Africa, effective February 21. The streaming giant says the goal is to ensure its customers get greater value for their money.

On Tuesday, Netflix announced the new prices of subscription plans in Sub-saharan Africa. They stated that their mobile plan would now be about $3, while the Premium plan would cost just under $10.

Netflix cuts subscription prices in Kenya and Sub-saharan Africa
Netflix cuts subscription prices in Kenya and Sub-saharan Africa

In the statement, the company noted that the reduction is part of exploring ways to improve their users’ experiences and make them get more value for the cost.

“We’re always exploring ways to improve our members’ experience on Netflix. We know members have never had more choices when it comes to entertainment — and we’re more committed than ever to delivering an experience that doesn’t just meet but exceeds their expectations. 

Today, we’re updating the pricing of our plans to Mobile $2.99, Basic $3.99, Standard $7.99 and Premium $9.99 in select Sub-Saharan countries [where Netflix is charged in USD] to deliver all your favourite TV shows and movies at an even better value!

The decision to lower the subscription cost in Sub-Saharan Africa may not be unconnected with that same desire to increase the platform subscribers while also achieving the aim of giving more value to its customers.

The new prices show that Sub-Saharan African subscribers who are subscribed to its mobile plan would be paying $1 less than what they used to, while subscribers to its basic plan would be paying $4 less. Its standard and premium subscribers would be paying $2 less, respectively.

New paid verification feature for Instagram and Facebook

Elon Musk’s profit-making strategy is gradually spreading to other companies in the social media space. Meta has announced plans for a new paid verification feature for Instagram and Facebook.

BREAKING Mark Zuckerberg to layoff of 13% (more than 11,000) of Meta workforce
Meta launches new paid verification feature for Instagram and Facebook

The new Verified subscription service could land nearly 12 million subscribers by 2024, according to a Bank of America (BoFA) research note published Tuesday.

In an Instagram post, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the subscription service over the weekend, pitching it as a way to increase “authenticity and security across our services.

The service provides an identity monitoring capability and related tools, starting at $11.99 per month. In Australia and New Zealand, it is currently undergoing testing.

In addition to pointing out that businesses would soon be able to subscribe, the BoFA analysts defined Meta’s membership service as targeted to influencers and producers rather than consumers. Influencers may find the subscription service appealing since it might “help them boost visibility and reach with a badge and potentially greater positioning in search and content results,” the analysts stated.

Whatsapp is testing a newsletter feature for users

WhatsApp is working on a private newsletter feature for a future app update. The messaging platform announced the rollout of the new update through the Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 2.23.5.3.

What would a WhatsApp newsletter feature mean for users and competitors?
What would a WhatsApp newsletter feature mean for users and competitors?

According to WaBetaInfo, which discovered the hints by searching through the code, the tool is now under development and could be launched in a future program update. Although the Meta-owned platform has not released any official statement yet, WeBetaInfo stated that “we cannot say for sure that it is really called “Newsletter” as it seems a codename at the moment, but we can temporarily call it that way.”

The feature will be a one-to-many tool for broadcasting information. It looks like a new way to quickly receive valuable updates from people and groups like local officials, sports teams, or other organizations.

With the newsletter feature, users will finally be able to choose who they want to hear from and follow broadcasters of their choice right within WhatsApp.

Although it is still unsure if the new feature is merely one of these functionality tests that will ultimately become a reality. Still, we know it would help streamline the information that users receive on the platform. To improve the platform’s use for all users, Whatsapp has continued to develop over time and has added new features.

EU bans its employees from using TikTok

According to CNBC reports, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, banned its employees from using TikTok on their smartphones amid concerns from Western governments about the risks the platform may pose to national security.

The commission said staff would no longer be able to install the Chinese-owned app on corporate and personal devices, citing concerns over how it handles user data.

“This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission,”

the Commission said in a statement published Thursday.

“The security developments of other social media platforms will also be kept under constant review,” it added.

The action demonstrates the increasingly combative stance that Europe has recently adopted toward TikTok, which has long eluded regulatory oversight in the Union. In December, American lawmakers decided to ban the app, and others are now calling for a statewide ban on the service.


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