Facebook Cancels F8 Developer Conference Over Coronavirus Concerns

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Mark Zuckerberg at F8 in 2018

The company says it is planning local events and live-streamed content to replace the annual in-person gathering.

Facebook is canceling its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. 

The company, in a post on its developer news blog, said that the in-person component of the spring event, which was scheduled for May 5-6, would not take place. Instead, it is planning local events, videos and live-streamed content to replace the gathering. 

"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," Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of platform partnerships at Facebook, wrote in the post. "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."

Facebook said it would donate $500,000 to organizations working to diversify the tech industry and would prioritize groups serving San Jose residents. It also pledged to host an F8-inspired event for local students in place of hosting them at the event. 

Additional information about the replacement F8 programming is expected in the coming weeks. 

The cancelation of F8 comes after the decision not to hold Mobile World Congress in Barcelona due to coronavirus concerns. The event was originally scheduled for Feb. 24-27. San Francisco and Orange County have also declared local emergencies, while Chinese distributors and representatives from its film industry dropped out of Berlin's European Film Market as well as the upcoming Cinemacon.