The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has prompted Facebook to cancel this year’s F8 developers conference.
The F8 2020 was scheduled for May 5-6 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. The social giant had held the conference every year since 2007, and last year’s F8 drew more than 5,000 attendees, according to the company.
“[G]iven the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of platform partnerships at Facebook, wrote in a blog post Thursday. “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.”
Earlier this month, Facebook pulled the plug on its global marketing summit scheduled for March 9-12 in San Francisco because of coronavirus concerns. The virus outbreak also led organizers of wireless industry trade show Mobile World Congress (MWC) to cancel this year’s event, which had been slated to run Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona. Next month’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) is — for now — still set to run March 16-20 in San Francisco even after multiple companies, citing the coronavirus issue, announced they will skip the event including Microsoft, Sony, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Kojima Productions and Unity Technologies.
According to Papamiltiadis, Facebook “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, Facebook is planning “other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content,” with details to be announced, Papamiltiadis wrote.
Past F8 confabs have featured keynote addresses from CEO Mark Zuckerberg; new product and feature announcements and demos; and sessions showcasing how developers can use Facebook technology.