So far this year we've seen Mobile World Congress cancelled, the Game Developers Conference postponed to an unknown date and now, Facebook is also cancelling its annual F8 conference as fears around the Coronavirus continue to mount.
Initially, Facebook's conference was scheduled to take place on May 5th and May 6th but due to health concerns, holding a full in-person conference has been deemed a bad idea. Instead, Facebook will shift its focus to a locally hosted live-stream, rather than hosting an in-person event.
Here is Facebook's full statement on the cancellation: “In light of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 this year, in order to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on. We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”
As the case has been with many other companies cancelling event appearances, the key reason here is prioritising the health and safety of Facebook's own staff, as well as its industry partners. Of course, this isn't the only major tech event to be cancelled so far and it might not be the last. With events like E3 and Computex coming up, we could see some more shake-ups to current event plans.
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KitGuru Says: At this point, I'm not going to be surprised if all events are cancelled until later in the year, assuming the outbreak has been deemed under control by then.