Facebook Cancels In-Person Portion of F8 Developer Conference on Coronavirus Concerns

The conference had been scheduled for May 5-6 in San Jose, Calif.
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report announced that it is cancelling the in-person component of its annual F8 Developer Conference due to concerns about the coronavirus.

The conference was scheduled to take place May 5 and May 6 in San Jose, California.

“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 App Director Konstantinos Papamiltiadis said in a blog post Thursday.

Facebook had previously cancelled a global marketing event in San Francisco scheduled for next week because of virus concerns, and Workday  (WDAY) - Get Report this week cancelled an internal sales conference in Orlando, Florida that was planned for next week for the same reason. In addition, the huge Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona scheduled for this week was cancelled earlier this month.  

Instead of in-person events for F8, Papamiltiadis said Facebook would put on a combination of "locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content."

The company said that it explored other ways to keep the in-person component of the conference, but its desire to host an inclusive event outweighed a potential plan to exclude international participants.

Despite cancelling a portion of the event, the company reiterated its commitment to its F8 host city.

“We remain committed to the city of San Jose, where we’ve hosted F8, and its community. Every year, we donate a portion of F8 ticket sales to an organization working to diversify the tech industry,” Papamiltiadis said.

The company announced that it is doubling its donation amount to $500,000 and will prioritize organizations serving local San Jose residents.

Last year’s conference took place in late April and featured a speech from CEO Mark Zuckerberg touting the company’s privacy initiatives.

Other innovations revealed at last year’s conference include Facebook Messenger for Business, updates on the company’s virtual reality platform, Oculus and combating social media fatigue.