Facebook cancels F8 because of coronavirus

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote introducing new Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram privacy features at the Facebook F8 Conference at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on April 30, 2019.

Amy Osborne | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook on Thursday announced its decision to cancel its annual F8 software developer conference due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. 

The conference was scheduled to take place on May 5 and 6 in McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Around 5,000 people attended last year’s event, a company spokeswoman told CNBC.

“This was a tough call to make — F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Facebook Director of Platform Partnerships Konstantinos Papamiltiadis said in a blog post. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”

In lieu of F8, Facebook said it plans to connect with developers through other means, including “through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.”

This is the second conference that Facebook cancels due to the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the company canceled its global marketing summit that was scheduled to take place in San Francisco in March. 

Facebook last week also announced its decision to pull out of March’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and PAX East, a gaming convention scheduled to take place in Boston from Feb. 27-March 1.

The coronavirus has had a broad impact on the tech industry. Microsoft on Wednesday said it did not expect to meet the quarterly revenue guidance it had previously issued due to the outbreak. That same day, Workday canceled its annual internal sales meeting due to coronavirus fears. And Apple last week warned investors that it did not expect to meet its quarterly revenue forecast due to lower iPhone supply and lower Chinese demand as a result of the outbreak. 

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