The first rule of thumb for layoffs is yes don’t be a fool for that. The second rule is to make sure the social media manager you just fired doesn’t still have access to your accounts. Tencent broke both rules today as it fired almost the entire editorial staff of Fanbyte, an online gaming publication.
Tencent is global the largest gaming company and on most valuable company in China, owning a stake in dozens of international game studios and game companies: Riot Games, Epic Games, Roblox, Discord, Pocket Gems, you name it. Tencent also owns WeChatthe Chinese super social media app as well as Tencent Music.
After reporting its first revenue decline last quarter, Tencent laid off approx 5% of the workforce, affecting 5,000 people. But a month later, it looks like Tencent is still making cuts.
I have a degree of sympathy for booming startups navigating a challenging market and making the painful decision to cut jobs – but Tencent is a mega-company that won over $88 billion in revenue last year. Of course, his rating dropped after he almost reached it a whopping $1 trillion last year. But is laying off some writers really the answer to these problems?
According to tweets from Merritt Kone of the last remaining employees at Fanbyte, layoffs include the site’s editor-in-chief, media manager, features editor, social editor, news editor, graphic designer, podcast producer and several writers.
Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the layoffs.
As promised, these layoffs were handled so horribly that it almost made Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, looks good. Fanbyte employees were laid off slowly, one by one, over several hours. There’s nothing like sitting alone in your apartment waiting to find out if you still have a job, watching your co-workers tweet that they’re looking for a new job.
One extremely small silver lining, however, was that the social media manager was fired while still having access to the Fanbyte social media accounts. She basically gave Tencent the middle finger, and after years of watching writers I love lose their jobs for reasons far beyond their control, I live for that.
For several hours, Fanbyte’s Instagram bio read, “Tencent made $35 billion in net revenue last year and fired almost every member of the Fanbyte subsidiary! Please support staff elsewhere :)” The account currently has the display name, “forgot keys?”
Ah, sweet revenge. But you know what would be even sweeter? If the biggest media companies in the world stopped gutting good publications to save a few hundred thousand dollars a year, which is only a fraction of a percent of their net income anyway.