Snap will lay off “just over” 120 employees from its engineering team over the next few days, the company confirmed today. The layoffs, first reported by Cheddar, were announced in an email to Snap employees by Jerry Hunter, the company’s engineering chief. Cheddar’s Alex Heath published a copy of the email on Twitter.
Hunter said the layoffs are meant to streamline and unify Snap’s engineering team. He said the changes will allow the company to “[address] the technical debt that we have accrued over the years so that we can develop a product that engages customers and drives Snap forward.” That sounds like a really opaque way of saying that Snap’s product has never been known for its robust and efficient code, and with Instagram aggressively trying to steal its users, it’s time for Snap to deal with some of the shortcomings the company has long felt it was able to ignore.
The cuts reportedly represent about 10 percent of Snap’s engineering team. They’re Snap’s largest layoff to date, although they’re still only a small portion of the about 3,000-person company.
It’s not clear what part of Snap’s engineering team these layoffs will come from. Snap seems to have closed the book on some hardware projects in recent months, like its work on a drone, and the company could be laying off those employees while remaining focused on its core app.
The layoffs come near the end of a rough first year as a public company for Snap. The company went public right as Instagram’s growth was taking off by copying Snapchat’s Stories feature. In the time since, Instagram has seen monumental growth, while Snapchat’s has been slow in comparison. Snap recently redesigned its app in order to improve engagement, but it was met with mixed reactions.