On Thursday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company is canceling all planned physical events with 50 or more attendees until June 2021. Facebook will also require the majority of employees to work from home until at least the end of May 2020.
“As we start to think about what it will look like to re-open society, I wanted to provide an update on how we’re planning for our teams at Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “The summary is: we’re slowing our plans to return to the office in order to prioritize helping the rest of our community and local economy to get back up and running first.”
The news comes two days after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a six-point outline of what the state will consider before it slowly re-opens businesses, schools and other daily activities. The six points include the ability for widespread testing across the state and the creation of a data-tracking system that would tell officials whether the state would have to reinstate a stay-at-home order.
Facebook is headquartered in Menlo Park, California; the state has had a stay-at-home order since March 19. While the order was supposed to lift in early May, it is unclear whether it will be extended.
In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg stated that only essential employees, such as the “small percent of our critical employees who can’t work remotely, like content reviewers working on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers working on complex hardware” may be able to return to work sooner than the end of May this year.
Facebook’s stock has risen 19% since March 16, when six Bay Area counties issued shelter-in-place orders. (The state of California followed suit three days later.) Zuckerberg is worth $64.5 billion as of 3pm ET Thursday, making him the world’s sixth richest person, according to Forbes’ Real Time rankings.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on CNBC earlier in April that the company plans to hire an additional 10,000 employees this year and has pledged not to lay off workers. Analyst John Blackledge at investment firm Cowen predicts that revenue at Facebook will contract 20% this year as a result of a decline in ad spending tied to the pandemic. Facebook will report earnings for the quarter ended March 31 on April 29.
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