Move over, Area 51 — Facebook’s Building 8 division may be making a phone

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Secrecy has long been at the heart of Apple’s game, but few other tech companies seem to have operated under such a heavy veil of mystery. That is, until now.

Facebook, one of the most ubiquitous social media platforms around, may be pivoting in a major way. It just might be making a phone.

According to a new report from CNET, there may be a new secret project underway in Menlo Park. Its name is Building 8, and it’s a “secretive new division of Facebook.” As CNET reports, those working on Building 8 include Rafa Camargo, Richard Wooldridge, and Blaise Bertrand, who not so long ago were working on Google’s Lego-esque modular phone, then called Project Ara (it was ultimately shelved). And along with this trio are also experts from the likes of Motorola, Tesla, Apple, and Amazon.

While no one seems entirely sure of what this team is working on, CNET says that there are two likely aspects to the project — “it’s mobile, and it may be modular.”

Back in April, Mark Zuckerberg noted in a blog post that Building 8 would examine “augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important areas.” But as CNET points out, the group’s mission statement seems to suggest something a bit different. It reads, in part, “Building 8 brings together world-class experts to develop and ship groundbreaking products at the intersection of hardware, software, and content. We have a clear mandate to ship products at scale. In particular, seemingly impossible products that define new categories that advance Facebook’s mission of connecting the world.”

Further, CNET’s investigation into Building 8 found that there’s a lot of hiring going on. “Facebook appears to be building an organization that could conceptualize, design, produce, ship, and sell hardware, and even deal with customers after the fact,” CNET reports, and adds, “Many of them ask for people with mobile experience — Android in particular.”

So could we soon be seeing a phone from Facebook? Only time will tell.

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