Facebook cancels F8 developer conference over coronavirus concerns

'Locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content' will replace the conference

Mark Zuckerberg delivering the keynote address at the F8 conference in 2019
Mark Zuckerberg delivering the keynote address at the F8 conference in 2019

Facebook has cancelled its annual F8 developer conference, the company's biggest event of the year, over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The social media giant says that "locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content" will replace the conference.

The event was scheduled to take place at the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose, California, on 5-6 May, and features a keynote address by co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2019, the event attracted more than 5,000 attendees — developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the globe.

A statement from the company reads: "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. We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content."

A blog post by Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms & programs at Facebook, reads: "This was a tough call 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 adds: "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."

Similar events have already been cancelled including the Mobile World Congress trade show. The IMF and World Bank are considering a range of options concerning their Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, scheduled for April.

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