On Thursday, Facebook canceled its annual F8 conference for developers — the social media juggernaut's biggest yearly event — amid growing fears surrounding the spread of the deadly coronavirus, reports CNET.
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Facebook joins an onslaught of big tech coronavirus cancellations
The unconventional decision shows how the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have severe effects on the wold's most powerful tech companies.
The deadly coronavirus, which was first discovered in China in December 2019, has infected more than 82,000 people. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed by the deadly infection. Facebook's move to cancel comes after the cancelation of other significant events, including Mobile World Congress 2020. The rapid spread of the virus has also moved Japan to reconsider going forward with its 2020 Olympic Games.
"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 Facebook's Director of Developer platforms & programs, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, in a statement.
The F8 developer conference was initially scheduled to happen at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on May 5 and 6. In 2019, the event garnered an impressive 5,000 developers, entrepreneurs, and creators from the entire world.
Facebook's F8 alternative will be live streams
CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg also gives a keynote speech at F8, which was an opportunity for the company to show how social networking is fighting the biggest problems in social media — from misinformation to user privacy. Facebook has faced inreasing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators since the world learned in 2018 that the UK political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested user data from potentially 87 million users, with no consent. In July 2019, Facebook was hit with a record $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission, for violating consumer privacy.
The company said that instead of hosting F8, it will plan to bring developers together at locally-hosted events, including videos and live stream content.
The social networking website did not share additional details regarding when these meetups would happen.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the world, professionals and users of Facebook and every major social media alternative should expect additional cancelations, but should also remember that — with the right precautions — the world will go on.