Mark Zuckerberg said there's 'no end in sight' for when employees will be able to return to the office and called the government's response to the coronavirus 'disappointing'

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Mark Zuckerberg said there’s “no end in sight” for when Facebook employees will return to the office.
  • On a call with analysts Thursday following Facebook’s second-quarter earnings report, Zuckerberg said he expects the rest of the year to be “unpredictable” and called the US government’s response to the coronavirus “disappointing.”
  • Facebook initially planned to start sending employees back to the office on July 6, but never confirmed it had pushed back its reopening date. Google, which also had a July 6 reopening date, told employees this week that they could work from home through June 2021. Apple CEO Tim cook pushed back reopening to early 2021.
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Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn’t know when Facebook’s employees will be able to return to the office.

On a call with analysts Thursday following Facebook’s second-quarter financial results, Zuckerberg discussed the US coronavirus response, which he described as “disappointing.” Because the virus is still surging in parts of the country, Zuckerberg said, the company still hasn’t sent employees back to the office.

“Looking forward, I expect the rest of this year to continue to be unpredictable,” Zuckerberg said. “From a health perspective, with COVID growing quickly in the US, there’s currently no end in sight for when our teams here will be able to return to our offices.”

“It is incredibly disappointing because it seems like the US could have avoided this current surge in cases if our government had handled this better,” Zuckerberg added, echoing comments he made earlier this month, when he told Dr. Anthony Fauci that the current state of the outbreak in the US was “avoidable.”

Facebook had initially planned to start sending employees back to the office on July 6. At the time, the company didn’t say whether it had gone forward with that plan, or if it had delayed its office reopening. Google had also named July 6 as its return-to-office date, but a surge in coronavirus cases in California led the company to push back its reopening.

Google said its US offices would stay closed until at least September 7, but earlier this week, the company announced it would extend its work from home policy through June 2021. Apple, similarly, pushed its reopening back from this fall to early 2021.

Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon all reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Thursday. Facebook’s stock jumped 8% after the company beat Wall Street’s expectations for revenue, profit, and growth in the second quarter. Despite an economic downtown amid the coronavirus crisis and an ongoing advertising boycott, Facebook reported that revenues were up 11% year-over-year.

Facebook is also facing government scrutiny over potentially anticompetitive behaviour. On Wednesday, Zuckerberg testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee alongside Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Google’s Sundar Pichai. The committee grilled Zuckerberg on Facebook’s acquisition strategy and whether it copied competitors.

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