Facebook cancels F8 developer conference due to coronavirus

Facebook said it still intends to hold some smaller F8-related events locally, though it sounds like these will be limited.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Facebook on Thursday announced that it has canceled its annual F8 developer conference due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. The conference was scheduled to take place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on May 5 and 6.

Facebook said it still intends to hold some smaller F8-related events locally, though it sounds like these will be limited. The company will also release video and live-stream content around that time. 

"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," said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook's director of developer platforms and programs, in a statement. 

"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," he said.

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Coronavirus -- formally known as COVID-19 -- is believed to have originated in Wuhan City, in Hubei province, China. Those infected with coronavirus are exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Coronavirus has significantly disrupted the technology industry's related annual events. GSMA's Mobile World Congress (MWC) was canceled due to coronavirus concerns, and DEF CON China was put on hold. The RSA security conference went on as planned, but over a dozen technology companies opted out of the event due to the virus. Facebook has also postponed its BountyCon conference.

Coronavirus has also caused chaos surrounding the Chinese market and the broader technology supply chain in China. Apple noted in its first-quarter financial results that the coronavirus outbreak in China is disrupting operations, and then later revealed that it would be missing its second-quarter guidance due to the continued impact of the virus. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft said that its More Personal Computing unit, Surface, and Windows OEM revenue will miss targets, as China's supply chain "is returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated" due to the coronavirus.

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