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Tuesday saw a 1% increase in Meta shares following an apparently false report that CEO Mark Zuckerberg intended to retire in 2023.

The report, which Meta swiftly refuted, came as Zuckerberg was already under increasing pressure from irate shareholders who were complaining about his extravagant spending on the metaverse.

Online discussion erupted after a publication called the Leak reported, citing an unnamed source, that Zuckerberg had “decided to step down” as CEO of the company next year as it struggled with a sharp decline in profits, around 9 a.m. ET.

After the report surfaced, Meta’s stock started to trade slightly higher and ended the day up 1.4%. Facebook was co-founded by Zuckerberg, who is also its sole CEO to date.

Until Meta spokesperson Andy Stone sharply denied the talk with a denial, speculation about Zuckerberg’s potential exit from the company grew.

Stone tweeted in response to the claim, “This is false.”
As the company made a costly shift toward metaverse technology despite a significant profit slump and economic headwinds, shareholders in Meta have grown agitated recently. Over 67% of Meta’s stock has been lost so far this year.

Early this month, as part of a significant cost-cutting drive, Meta fired 11,000 employees, or roughly 13% of its workforce. Zuckerberg admitted that he had underestimated the degree to which Meta’s revenue would decline during its ongoing struggles and took responsibility for the pink slips.

Unfortunately, it did not turn out how Zuckerberg had anticipated, he said. “Online sales have not only resumed their previous patterns, but our revenue has been much lower than I had anticipated due to the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ad signal loss. I acknowledge that I made a mistake in this.
Investors had previously taken aim at Meta’s executive team after the company stated in October that it anticipated losses in its Reality Labs division, which is creating the metaverse, to “grow significantly” in 2019.
More than 54% of the company’s voting shares are under Zuckerberg’s control, allowing him to run the show without much interference from irate shareholders.


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