Major conferences are being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and now Facebook is just one more.
Today, Facebook has announced that it has canceled its annual F8 developers conference, which was originally scheduled to take place in May. The reason? The outbreak of the coronavirus. Instead of the major conference, Facebook is taking a different route, opting to host “locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content” instead.
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.
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. 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.
Facebook’s rationale here is to prioritize the health and safety of the developer community, attendees, and employees. The possibility of not including international developers at this year’s F8 dev conference was not something the company wanted to consider.
This is not the first major event to be canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Mobile World Congress, for example, decided to not host its annual event this year, which was set to take place in February. Meanwhile, the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which takes place in early March has seen many companies pull out of the conference, including Sony, Facebook, Electronic Arts (EA), Kojima Productions, and others.
The fact that Facebook is canceling F8 this year, which takes place in early May, appears to be the first of its kind. So far in advance. Will we see other companies do this for their own events? Will Apple really host a media event at the end of March? And what about this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)?
Do you think these events should be canceled?