Facebook Cancels Annual Developer Conference Due to Coronavirus Concerns: 'This Was a Tough Call to Make'

Facebook is the latest major corporation to be impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The social media stalwart announced on Thursday that it has canceled the “in-person component” of its annual F8 developer conference — which was scheduled to be held in San Jose, California in May — in light of “the growing concerns around COVID-19.”

“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,” a company blog post read. “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.

The post continued, “In place of the in-person F8 event, we’re planning other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”

Often featuring a keynote from Mark Zuckerberg, the F8 conference is one of Facebook’s largest events held for the global developers and entrepreneurs behind its products and services.

Earlier this month, Facebook canceled its global marketing summit scheduled to take place in San Francisco this March, according to Reuters.

The technology giant also announced its decision to pull out of March’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week.

News of the F8 cancellation comes after the Centers for Disease Control announced that a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is imminent.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Messonnier said that Americans “need to prepare for a significant disruption” to their lives and plan for possible school closures, find out about teleworking options and if their health care providers offer telemedicine options.

“We are asking the American public to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad,” she said.

Coronavirus is a blanket term for several respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Symptoms typically include fever, cough, trouble breathing, headache and sore throat. For people who have severe cases, it can turn into pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure and death, according to the World Health Organization.

As of Feb. 27, there have been 82,132 reported cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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