Facebook has confirmed that it will not be holding its F8 conference this year in the wake of concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus.
F8 is the social network’s largest developer conference and is traditionally held every year in May. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also delivers a keynote at the event to address some of the company’s biggest endeavours, with last year’s presentation focusing on privacy.
In place of F8, Facebook says it will hold locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content. However, the company did not confirm when these will take place or how users will be able to tune in.
“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 & programs, in a statement.
F8 is the latest tech event to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, following Mobile World Congress earlier this month. Elsewhere, PlayStation has bowed out from the PAX East fan event in Boston and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, while other companies, like Capcom and EA, have scaled back their employee presence at such events.
Outside the tech space, there are even discussions as to whether Japan should hold the Olympics this summer, given the threat of coronavirus.
Altogether, more than 80,000 people in more than 40 countries have been infected with coronavirus to date. Nearly 2,800 have died, with the majority of fatalities occurring in China’s Hubei province. In Canada, there have been 13 confirmed cases of the virus — six in Ontario and seven in British Columbia.