Meta Platforms (META  ) shares have severely underperformed over the last 2 years after being one of the best-performing stocks in the market since its IPO in 2012.

There are a variety of factors, but the largest may be the company's heavy spending as it positions itself for what it believes is the future of communication - the metaverse. Investors don't seem to share the company's confidence that the metaverse will be a big deal and that Facebook will be the company that builds it.

Another factor is changes in Apple's (AAPL  ) privacy policy which limits the ability of companies like Facebook to track their users and deliver targeted ads. The net effect is that Facebook ads become less effective and thus less profitable.

The rise of TikTok has also curbed Facebook's growth, and Instagram is no longer the most popular app for teens and young adults. Facebook has tried to compete with Reelz and short videos on Facebook, but the efforts haven't yielded too much success. In a sense, it's reminiscent of Google's (GOOGL  ) efforts in social media, but it was never able to figure it out despite having substantially more resources than the upstart, Facebook.

These struggles are shared by many tech companies, dealing with an environment where investors are more interested in cash flow than growth. One evidence of Facebook's change in direction was the surprise resignation of COO Sheryl Sandberg who was the second most prominent figure at the company.

An internal memo and a company-wide Q&A revealed Meta and Zuckerberg's thinking, and they are certainly treating the situation extremely seriously. The memo detailed the company's current challenges and strategies for dealing with them.

To offset the Apple impact, Meta is looking to monetize Instagram Reels and invest in AI to give better content recommendations. It also wants to make it easier for advertisers to target users with ads across its family of apps.

For employees, the Q&A with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have been more jarring. Essentially, he said that the company was bloated and that the company would be 'turning up the heat' to see which employees really wanted to be there. Of course, this is a big change from the past decade in tech when the competition for talent meant lavish compensation and a less rigorous work environment.

The company already reduced its hiring plans for this year and is upping its performance benchmarks. Many employees are probably also dealing with the ramifications of the stock price plunging by more than 50% which might make their stock options worthless in some cases.