After canceling a couple of smaller events in San Francisco in recent weeks over coronavirus travel caution, Facebook announced Thursday that it is canceling its biggest industry conference of the year, the F8 developers' conference set to take place in San Jose in May.
"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," says Facebook's director of developer platforms & programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis in a statement. Papamiltiadis cited the difficulty of not wanting to throw the event "without our international developers in attendance," and the growing travel restrictions especially from Asia are hampering events like these.
The annual F8 brought 5,000 attendees to San Jose last year, and it's often used for Facebook to show off new hardware products and features, including its Oculus VR headsets.
"We remain committed to the city of San Jose, where we’ve hosted F8, and its community," he says.
In lieu of the in-person event, Papamiltiadis promises "other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content."
This announcement comes two weeks after the big Mobile World Congress was cancelled in Barcelona, scheduled to take place this week, as CNN reported. And it follows on Facebook's decision to cancel a marketing summit in San Francisco, scheduled to take place next month. The company said then, "Our priority is the health and safety of our teams, so out of an abundance of caution, we cancelled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus."