Newcomer Podcast
Freeloaders, Fat cats & Ne'er-do-wells (w/Alex Heath)

Freeloaders, Fat cats & Ne'er-do-wells (w/Alex Heath)

On Dead Cat, we talk with reporter Alex Heath about Meta's crusade against coasters and Instagram's strategy shift
Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Fourth of July Instagram post

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has been playing defense as Instagram’s product goes on offense.

Mosseri released a video explaining recent changes to Instagram and defended Instagram’s pivot from a friend-oriented, social graph-sorted photo sharing app to a creator-driven, AI-powered content machine.

Meanwhile, the broader Meta employee base has been feeling the pain. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is bringing down the hammer, signaling that the company is trying to manage out weak performers. The company has started a campaign against coasters.

But Meta employees are passing around memes suggesting that Zuckerberg is the coaster-in-chief.

I talked with Verge reporter and social media savant Alex Heath about the turmoil at Facebook on the latest episode of Dead Cat, along with co-hosts Tom Dotan and Katie Benner.

Heath recently recounted a contentious vignette inside a recent Meta all-hands:

“Hi there,” the first prerecorded employee question started. “I’m Gary, and I’m located in Chicago.” His question: would Meta Days — extra days off introduced during the pandemic — continue in 2023?

Zuckerberg appeared visibly frustrated. “Um… all right,” he stammered. He’d just explained that he thought the economy was headed for one of the “worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history.” He’d already frozen hiring in many areas. TikTok was eating their lunch, and it would take over a year and a half before they had “line of sight” to overtaking it.

And Gary from Chicago was asking about extra vacation days?

“Given my tone in the rest of the Q&A, you can probably imagine what my reaction to this is,” Zuckerberg said. After this year, Meta Days were canceled.

We talk about employee unrest at Meta, Instagram’s strategy shift, the state of the metaverse, and Snap’s oscillating stock price on the episode. At the end of the lively episode, the conversation devolved into an argument about antitrust. We end the podcast a bit abruptly in order to avoid recording Tom’s son dashing into the room. Enjoy.

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Newcomer Podcast
A podcast about Silicon Valley, hosted by newsletter writer and independent journalist Eric Newcomer. Listen in for interviews with the dealmakers and builders who matter. Subscribe to for summaries of the episodes plus tech industry news, scoops, and analysis.