Facebook has canceled the in-person portion of F8, the company’s annual developer conference, due to coronavirus concerns. F8 was originally scheduled to take place on May 5th and May 6th later this year.
Instead, Facebook says that it will replace the main F8 conference with “locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.”
The full statement is below:
“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.”
In a blog post further explaining the decision to cancel the conference, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis said that “we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on.”
Papamiltiadis goes on to note that Facebook explored other options to allow the conference to go forward but concluded that it was “important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”
F8 isn’t the first major tech event to be canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak: Mobile World Congress was canceled earlier in February due to similar concerns over the virus. Meanwhile, GDC 2020 has seen multiple major companies and developers pull out due to related fears, including Unity, Sony, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Kojima Productions, and Microsoft’s Game Stack team, although the conference itself is still planned to take place next month.