Facebook has canceled the in-person aspect of F8, its annual developer conference. The reason? The COVID-19 coronavirus, of course.
F8 2020 was originally supposed to be a two-day event that kicks off 5 May. Normally, developers and media around the globe will fly to the show in San Jose to cover it in person. However, this year, Facebook said it's canceling the main F8 conference and instead will hold “locally hosted events, videos, and live-streamed content.” Here's a statement from the company:
"Every year, we look forward to connecting with our global developer community at F8 and sharing our vision for the future that we’re building together. But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020."
The social network published a blog post to fully explain its decision. Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, said Facebook wants to "prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on". He said Facebook mulled other ways to hold the conference but decided it "didn’t feel right".
Keep in mind this isn't the first tech conference to be canceled over coronavirus concerns. Clearly, there are worries about a large gathering of many people and how it could exasperate the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which is wreaking havoc across mainland China and rapidly spreading globally. According to John Hopkins University data, more than 82,000 people have been diagnosed.
At the time of this writing, more than 2,800 people have died. The deaths are mostly limited to China.
Facebook plans to share additional details about F8 plans in the coming weeks. You can sign up here to have updates emailed to you directly.