I'm new to Meta, so I'm currently in team selection. My goal is to choose a team that maintains more critical pieces and are more stable with respect to layoffs/reorganizations vs. (slightly) more moonshotty teams with higher risk/reward. An example of the latter would be a team working on maintaining an ads pipeline while one for the former would be a team experimenting with new UI features.
How can I find a team that meets that bill, and what questions can I ask to help identify this?
You mentioned it in your question, and I think it's valid: Work on ads.
At the end of the day, ads is the bread and butter of Meta and will remain that way for at least the next 5 years, probably 10. I know that Zuck is really bullish on the Metaverse, but I think there's a 50% chance he cans it under increasing market pressure and lack of traction.
I think with questions, you can ask some of the things you mentioned:
That being said, finding a stable org in Meta is almost impossible from my experience. If the org is doing well, it will grow and re-org. If the org is doing poorly, it will shrink or get canned. It's also dependent on exec quality (bad VPs/Directors will do bad re-orgs), and it will be hard for you to gauge that as an E5 (but you can ask around regardless). And in this climate, I imagine there's going to be a lot of turnover at Meta due to poor morale, which will lead to re-orgs as managers/execs leave. Temper your expectations here.
Lastly, I recommend this video on finding a team with good growth opportunities.