Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

One more significant datacenter’s construction is halted by Meta

Meta has postponed indefinitely the construction of a large number of data centres across a campus in Alabama, only days after halting a similar expansion in Denmark.

The corporation said that it is still dedicated to the cloud storage initiative in the United States, but that it is considering making some changes to the overall architecture.

A Meta representative said that a modification in the architecture of a section of the Huntsville data centre was made to “better suit our requirements for the future.” This change in design necessitated a stop in construction.

The statement went on to add, “We remain dedicated to this community, our local stakeholders, and our supply chain partners.” To ensure a smooth handoff of this project, we will collaborate closely with all parties involved.

It was announced in 2018 and expanded in June 2021 that the firm will establish a data centre facility in Huntsville, Alabama, with the potential to generate 300 new employment once it opens.

Several media publications have reported that Meta is shifting its focus away from such endeavours and back into its core competencies of artificial intelligence (AI) and metaverse development (which includes both the consumer-facing Horizon Worlds and the business-focused Horizon Workrooms).

Most likely, this is the case, but it’s also plausible that Meta is leaving the data industry while it’s still profitable.

In January, parents and guardians in Alabama filed a class-action complaint against the corporation, alleging that it “illegally captured, trafficked, and stored” photos of children, in violation of the children’s right to privacy, as reported by The Click in March 2022.

Also mentioned was a similar case brought against Facebook in Illinois in 2015, with claims that the company’s face recognition software breached user privacy in violation of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, which was settled in 2020 for $650 million.

When Meta announced it was retiring its face recognition technology in November 2021, the program’s last days were numbered.

However, in February 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed another lawsuit alleging that Facebook’s use of the system violates state privacy law “to extend its empire and capture unprecedented windfall revenues,” by keeping “millions” of biometric identifiers in submitted images.

Meta has shown a propensity for shrugging off settlements and penalties in the past, but if it sees sectors as having less danger, it may try to shift its attention to AI and the metaverse. It’s possible that Meta, or at least Mark Zuckerberg (opens in new tab), thinks it has such a strong grasp on the metaverse that it can afford the adjustment.

Although The Register has reported that investors are becoming concerned about Meta’s ambitions for the metaverse, Meta has so far avoided answering the publication’s pointed questions on the matter (opens in new tab).

Recent layoffs in the data business might thus be a combination of a frugal response to rising costs and a determined act of defiance.