Meta: We need 5x more GPUs to combat TikTok, stat
And 30% fewer new engineers this year
Comment Facebook parent Meta has reportedly said it needs to increase its fleet of datacenter GPUs fivefold to help it compete against short-form video app and perennial security concern TikTok.
The oft-controversial tech giant needs these hardware accelerators in its servers by the end of the year to power its so-called discovery engine that will become the center of future social media efforts, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters that was written by Meta Chief Product Officer Chris Cox.
Separately, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Meta staff on Thursday in a weekly Q&A the biz had planned to hire 10,000 engineers this year, and this has now been cut to between 6,000 and 7,000 in the shadow of an economic downturn. He also said some open positions would be removed, and pressure will be placed on the performance of those staying at the corporation.
"Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn't be here," Zuckerberg said, according to Reuters.
The main thrust of Cox's memo this week was a call-to-arms to staff about the need for Meta to, in Cox's words, "prioritize more ruthlessly" and "operate leaner, meaner, better execution teams" in the face of growing macroeconomic concerns and an ad business that doesn't play well with privacy protections.
But Meta's apparent need for truckloads of GPUs will likely serve as an affirmation to Nvidia and other chip companies that some of the world's largest tech companies will continue to need more accelerator chips to fuel their most important businesses as the global economy cools down.
As detailed by The Verge earlier this month, Meta plans to use its discovery engine to create a version of the Facebook app that closely resembles TikTok's addictive feed of videos. Not a big surprise given that copying competitors has long been Meta's strong suit.
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GPUs have become increasingly important to so-called hyperscalers such as Meta because they can process critical workloads like recommendation engines much faster than general-purpose server CPU cores. These recommender engines are responsible for applications and services we touch every day, from search engines and news feeds to online stores and video platforms.
With Meta's discovery engine push, the mega-corp is now signaling that it needs substantially more datacenter GPUs to make Facebook and its other apps as, if not more, compelling than TikTok.
Will it work? We don't know, and Meta has stumbled plenty of times in the past. We can guarantee that any future changes to its apps will, at the very least, prompt plenty of eye rolls.
That is, unless some other company can manage to ship in volume an accelerator chip that will integrate quickly within Meta's existing environment. It seems unlikely, but we would welcome the competition, which we know is coming from the likes of Intel, AMD, and others. ®
This article was updated on July 1 to include comments from Mark Zuckerberg.