Why would anyone write more than a few bytes of firmware directly in machine code, instead of using assembler? Even very custom hardware should have an assembler, just to keep the developers from going crazy...
There's no advantages to skipping the assembler step, no code size or reduction speed improvements.
That said, I DO agree that it's data, seen from the host CPU. It's not going to be executed by the CPU, but passed on to another unit. In a lot of cases, it wouldn't even be executable by the CPU.
Another thing is if we would understand the custom assembler anyway:
MAKEIT STFU BLEHLA RIAA, 5000 WOOHOO STFU, RIAA WEDONK RIAA;)
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