Facebook is reportedly developing its own custom chips, as they have begun aggressively hiring prospective employees familiar with developing chipsets.
In developing their own chips, Facebook follows in the footsteps of fellow tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Amazon. Apple particularly has been trying to break off from using third-party chips in order to reduce costs and create more specialized hardware. Google has also been developing its own custom chips, which they call tensor processing units or T.P.U.’s.
Facebook’s first big foray into the hardware market was late last year when they released the Oculus series of VR headsets. These units used third-party chips developed by Qualcomm called Snapdragon. It remains to be seen if Facebook’s upcoming custom chips will be used in hardware like Oculus, or in-house to sort through the troves of user data they possess.
The development of specialized chips at Facebook could be a game changer for them in terms of artificial intelligence, which could be used to help Facebook automatically detect the fake or malicious content that plagued its service and put them in the headlines over the past year. The amount of data generated and gathered by Facebook is immeasurable, which makes manual curation impossible. Using advanced AI that utilizes custom, in-house based chips, Facebook could scan its content for fake accounts, fake news, and extreme or disturbing content.