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Facebook cancels F8 developer conference over coronavirus fears

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Facebook has announced that it has canceled its annual F8 developers conference, its most important event of the year, over growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook’s F8 is the conference where Facebook makes its big announcements of what it’s working on and what new features are going to be coming during the year.

It’s the event where Facebook showcases new products that users and developers can interact with.

On their official blog, Facebook writes:

“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.”

The conference was scheduled to take place on May 5 and 6 in McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Instead of the conference, Facebook said it now plans to connect with developers in other ways, including “through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.”

This is the second conference that Facebook has decided to cancel due to the coronavirus threat.

Just this month, the social media giant canceled its Global Marketing Summit that was supposed to take place in San Francisco in March.

And last week, Facebook also made the decision to pull out of March’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as well as the gaming convention PAX East in Boston.

Several major events have been canceled as a result of the outbreak, with Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress that was due to be this week, also closing after too many companies pulled out due to fears over the pandemic.

Event organizers have been weighing up whether canceling such an event would be an extreme measure, or whether it’s best to exercise caution.

Like Facebook, when Sony pulled out of PAX East last week, the mayor of Boston criticized the move, and shockingly suggested that it was racist.

“These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle. They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears,” wrote the mayor, Marty Walsh.

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