Facebook Cancels All ‘Large Physical Events’ Through June 2021

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock

Facebook is slowing down its plans to have employees return to the office amid the COVID-19 crisis — and it has nixed all in-person events it had planned with 50 or more attendees through June of 2021, according to to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“Even beyond this next period, guidance from health experts is that it won’t be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on the platform Thursday. “Given this, we’re canceling any large physical events we had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021.” He added that for some of those, Facebook plans to hold as virtual events instead.

The “vast majority” of Facebook employees will be required to work from home through at least the end of May 2020, according to Zuckerberg. Facebook also is extending its policy of no business travel through at least June of this year.

Meanwhile, a “small percent” of employees may be able to return sooner but “we don’t expect to have everyone back in our offices for some time,” the CEO wrote. Facebook staff who would be coming back to offices earlier include content reviewers working on counter-terrorism efforts or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers “working on complex hardware,” per Zuckerberg.

“Most Facebook employees are fortunate to be able to work productively from home, so we feel a responsibility to allow people who don’t have this flexibility to access shared public resources first,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I hope this helps contain the spread of COVID-19 so we can keep our communities safe and get back up and running again soon.”

Facebook had 44,942 employees as of the end of 2019. Where many companies have been laying off or furloughing workers, Facebook plans to hire 10,000 additional staffers for its product and engineering teams by the end of 2020, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said earlier this month.

Among areas Facebook is focused on staffing up, the company is dedicating more employees to monitoring user posts for signs of mental-health issues during the coronavirus pandemic, Zuckerberg said last month.