April 14, 2024

Mark Zuckerberg speaking into a small microphone behind his namecard that says Mr. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on January 31, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

Meta has already spent billions on chips to build on its AI efforts against competitors. Now its chief executive is reportedly spending time wooing AI talent from its rivals.

Mark Zuckerberg has written personal emails to researchers at Google’s DeepMind, convincing them to work with him at Meta, sources who saw the messages told The Information. Meta has also reportedly offered jobs to candidates without interviews, and stepped back on its policy of not offering higher salaries to talent who have job offers from competitors.

Neither Meta nor Google immediately responded to a request for comment.

Meta’s AI plays

Earlier this month, a Meta executive said part of the company’s “technology roadmap” from now until 2026 is focused on developing an AI model to power recommendations for the platform’s videos and user Feeds.

“Instead of just powering Reels, we’re working on a project to power our entire video ecosystem with this single model, and then can we add our Feed recommendation product to also be served by this model,” Tom Alison, head of Facebook, said at a Morgan Stanley tech conference. “If we get this right, not only will the recommendations be kind of more engaging and more relevant, but we think the responsiveness of them can improve as well.”

In the past, Meta has used different AI models to power recommendations for each of its products, including Reels, Groups, and Feed, Alison said. But last year, the company started experimenting with large language models (LLMs) and generative AI to power recommendations on its platforms in one integrated architecture. Meta is also working on other generative AI products, Alison said, including digital assistants and improvements to its chatting tools.

Meta is one of the biggest customers of Nvidia’s H100 chips, spending $4.5 billion on the highly-coveted hardware in 2023. But now with the newly-released Blackwell (or B200) chip hitting the market, even the best Nvidia buyers are clambering for its supply. Meta doesn’t expect to receive shipments of Nvidia’s Blackwell chips until 2025, a company spokesperson said in mid-March.

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