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If 2017 was the year of pivoting to video, 2018 might be a year of pivoting away from video.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Vox Media plans to lay off about 50 staffers after deciding that, as explained in CEO Jim Bankoff’s memo to staff, native social video “won’t be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making.”

Per THR, SB Nation will be among the areas of Vox hit hardest by the layoffs. Already Kurt Mensching, whose Twitter bio describes him as an SB Nation newsdesk manager, has announced he was part of the cuts.

Vox’s apparent shift away from native social video comes a month after Facebook announced it would de-prioritize news in its algorithms, sapping value from the quick-hit viral videos that have flourished on social media in recent years. Bankoff’s memo, as quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, does not mention Facebook specifically but does allude to “industry changes over the past few months” as a contributing factor.

Per THR, Vox Media’s cuts will affect about five percent of the company, including the 50 employees who are laid off as well as 12 others who will be offered new roles.

“As a result of our decision to wind down certain initiatives, we’ll be saying goodbye to some of our talented colleagues who have made valuable contributions to our success,” Bankoff wrote, calling Wednesday “one of the toughest days we’ve had as a company.”

He continued: “Our leadership team and I took this decision very seriously. We know it has a big impact on the lives of our co-workers who will be leaving, as well as on the morale of those who remain. We commit to treating all those affected with professionalism, compassion and dignity.”

Just last week, Bankoff expressed confidence in Vox’s future in an interview with CNBC, saying that Facebook’s changes would de-emphasize “low- or empty-calorie videos” in favor of quality work, which could benefit Vox’s sites. He did, however, warn that Vox Media would likely produce less Facebook-specific content in wake of the social media site’s changes. These layoffs would seem to confirm that direction.

In all likelihood, Vox will not be the only media company to lay off staff in response to Facebook’s new priorities. Numerous outlets have invested heavily in native social video, and Facebook’s evolving priorities will cause a huge ripple in the media industry, which always seems to be more reactive than proactive when it comes to new business models. As long as incentives keep changing, companies will keep sending employees home and (hopefully) bringing in new ones.

Per THR, here is the email the Vox Media employee union (which was officially recognized just last month) sent to its members Wednesday.

“We organized this union in large part because of instability in our industry,” the committee said. “While this news is devastating, together we will have a seat at the table and an opportunity to help those colleagues who are being laid off. We are going to fight hard for the best we can get for our coworkers during this crucial time. In the meantime, we’ve started a shared sheet full of job openings around the industry.”

The union continued: “As a union, we want to spend this time looking out for each other. We are going to get through this together.”

We will update this post as more information becomes available about layoffs at Vox, and at SB Nation specifically.

UPDATE: SB Nation writer and editor Sarah Kelly announced that she has also been laid off.

Hockey writer Mary Clarke is also out.

As is an SB Nation social-media staffer named Mark.

And multimedia maestro Clay Wendler.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.