Facebook has announced it is cancelling the forthcoming F8 developer conference, as the threat of the coronavirus continues to decimate the tech calendar.
Following the cancellation of Mobile World Congress scheduled to have taken place this week, the social network has decided against hosting its annual expo, where it tends to a range of announce new features and initiatives.
The news should come as no surprise, given Facebook recently announced its gaming and Oculus VR units would be withdrawing from the Games Developer’s Conference in San Francisco next month.
In a post on the Facebook developers site, the company said the in-person elements of the conference in San Diego, California, will no longer take place.
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Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, the director of platform partnerships, wrote: “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. In place of the in-person F8 event, we’re planning other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content. We’ll share additional details on our plans for F8 in the coming weeks.”
The cancellation now casts serious doubt on whether many of the other major events in the tech calendar will go ahead as planned. The organisers of GDC are still planning for the event to go ahead. Whether it will or not is another manner.
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However, with Microsoft Build, Google I/O, E3 2020, and Apple’s WWDC all scheduled to take place before the mid-way point of the year, and the crisis only worsening, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see tech companies err on the side of caution.