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Coronavirus concerns prompt cancellation of Facebook F8 developer conference

The cancellation of Facebook’s biggest event of the year, which was set for May, follows in the footsteps of Mobile World Congress.

Facebook said Thursday it’s canceling its F8 developer conference, the social media giant’s biggest event of the year, over concerns about the novel coronavirus. The unusual move illustrates how the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory illness the virus causes, is impacting the world’s largest tech companies.

Facebook’s mostly-annual conference was scheduled to take place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on May 5 and 6. It is a widely anticipated Facebook event, and last year attracted more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the globe.

“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, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a statement.

Facebook’s decision to scrub F8 follows the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, the giant mobile phone conference held in Barcelona. Concerns about the virus have affected other events, including a Facebook marketing summit and the RSA Conference, which is currently taking place in San Francisco. Facebook, along with Sony and Microsoft, has also pulled out of the upcoming Game Developers Conference. Concerns about the virus have grown so great that the IOC is weighing if it might need to cancel the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The coronavirus, which was discovered in December in China, has killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 82,600.

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