Facebook issues update following cancellation of ‘in-person’ F8 event over coronavirus

Facebook issues update following cancellation of ‘in-person’ F8 event over coronavirus
Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

Facebook has issued an update following its decision to cancel this year’s F8 conference over coronavirus fears.

F8 is Facebook’s annual event to update the world on its plans for world domination. The event is developer-focused but users also watch the conference to learn about all the new apps, features, and even hardware coming their way.

In a blog post, Facebook wrote:

“Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020.

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 – but we need to prioritise the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”

To avoid gathering such a large number of people from around the world together, risking the spread of COVID-19, Facebook says it is planning other ways for its community to get together.

More locally-hosted events are being planned in addition to a live stream where, presumably, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will give his keynote.

COVID-19 is causing serious disruption around the globe. While the novel coronavirus is currently an epidemic in China, other cases are spreading around the world quickly and experts from the World Health Organisation say time is running out to contain it.

Large-scale international events, like MWC and F8, are being cancelled and many businesses are stopping global travel to help prevent COVID-19 becoming a true pandemic. Japan has taken the decision to close its schools and there’s concern the Olympic Games set to be held in Tokyo in July may need to be cancelled.

The stock markets have also been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Concerns over the impact on supply chains, especially from China, have caused shares to have their worst week since the financial crisis – with the Dow dropping the most over a single day in its history.

Facebook says it will issue further updates on its plans for F8 in the coming weeks. The company says you can sign up here to receive alerts as details are released.

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