The first rule of doing layoffs is not to be a fool about it. The second rule is to make sure that the social media manager you just fired still doesn’t have access to your accounts. Today, Tencent violated both of these rules by firing nearly all of the editorial staff of Fanbyte, an online gaming publication.
Tencent is the largest game company in the world and the most valuable company in China, owning a stake in dozens of game studios and international game companies: Riot Games, Epic Games, Roblox, Discord, Pocket Gems, etc. . Tencent also owns WeChat, the super Chinese social media app, as well as Tencent Music.
After recording its first drop in revenue last quarter, Tencent laid off around 5% of its workforce, affecting 5,000 people. But a month later, it looks like Tencent is still making cuts.
I have some sympathy for booming startups that navigate a tough market and make the painstaking decision to cut jobs — but Tencent is a mega-corporation that made over $88 billion in revenue last year. . Of course, its valuation has fallen after nearly hitting an unfathomable $1 trillion last year. But is firing some writers really the answer to these problems?
According to tweets from Merritt Kone of Fanbyte’s last remaining employees, the layoffs included site editor, 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 terribly that it almost makes Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong look good. Fanbyte employees were fired 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.
A very small silver lining, however, was that the social media manager was fired while still having access to Fanbyte social media accounts. She basically gave Tencent the middle finger, and after years of watching writers I love lose their jobs for reasons way beyond their control, I live for it.
For several hours, Fanbyte’s Instagram biography read, “Tencent made $35 billion in net revenue last year and fired nearly every member of the child company Fanbyte! Please support staff elsewhere :)” The account currently has the display name, “forgot the keys?”
Ah, sweet revenge. You know what would be even sweeter, though? If the world’s biggest media companies stopped trashing good publications to save a few hundred thousand dollars a year, which is only a fraction of a fraction of a percent of their net income anyway.