Facebook cancels its annual F8 conference because of coronavirus concerns

  • Facebook has cancelled its biggest event of the year over coronavirus concerns.
  • F8, its annual conference for developers, was set to be held in San Jose, California, in May.
  • Facebook said it planned to replace the in-person conference with “locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”
  • In a statement, the company said: “We’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 this year, in order to prioritise the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”
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Facebook has cancelled its annual F8 conference over coronavirus-outbreak concerns.

Normally the biggest event of the year for the California social-networking giant, F8 was scheduled to be held in San Jose in May, but on Thursday the company announced the “in-person component” of the event was cancelled.

In a statement, Facebook said: “In light of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 this year, in order to prioritise the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”

Facebook still plans to hold some smaller local events and produce online material: “We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content,” the company said.

The cancellation highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is causing increasingly widespread disruption and uncertainty for major businesses as it continues to spread across the globe. The outbreak has infected more than 81,000 people and killed more than 2,700, mostly in China. US health officials warned on Tuesday that a COVID-19 outbreak in the US is inevitable.

Facebook pulled out of the March 9 Global Marketing Summit, a 5,000-person marketing conference held in San Francisco. Facebook’s business has already been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company said its supply chain for hardware has been disrupted and that its employees have been told not to travel to China. Meanwhile, Facebook employees who have visited China are being asked to work from home, according to Bloomberg.

Facebook’s announcement follows the cancellations of other high-profile conferences this month. Workday on Wednesday announced the cancellation of its March 2 sales conference, and the Mobile World Congress, the largest trade show for mobile phones, was cancelled last week. Several major companies, including Unity and Microsoft, have pulled out of the Game Developers Conference scheduled for March 16.

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