Facebook cancels F8 conference amid coronavirus fears

Facebook’s largest event of the year, F8, has been cancelled due to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

F8 brings together the Facebook’s developers and leaders each year to highlight the latest technology from the group and plan out the company’s vision for the future.

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at F8 2019 

It was due to be held in San Jose in California on the 5th and 6th of May.

In a blog post this morning, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, the company’s director of platform partnerships, said it was a “difficult” and “tough” decision to make.

“F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook, and it’s one of our favourite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world,” he said, “but we need to prioritise the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”

He noted the company had tried to find ways to keep the in-person elements of F8, but it wouldn’t have been “inclusive” to exclude the international developers.

In place of the globally-focused in-person F8, Papamiltiadis said Facebook will host a “combo of locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content”. He flagged F8 2021 will go ahead.

In addition, he said Facebook would continue to support the would-be F8 host city, San Jose.

“Every year, we donate a portion of F8 ticket sales to an organisation working to diversify the tech industry. This year, we’re doubling that donation amount to $500,000 and will prioritise organisations serving local San Jose residents,” he said.

Students, who are typically hosted onsite at F8, will instead be offered “an F8-inspired experience” in lieu of them attending the event.

At previous F8 conferences, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has taken to the stage to promise better privacy controls for consumers in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and more tools for advertisers.

Facebook has also used the conference to open its Messenger platform up to the global community of developers, which vice president of Messenger David Marcus said led to it becoming a thriving channel for brands, developers and consumers connecting with the things they love.


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