Facebook Cancels F8 Developer Conference Over Coronavirus

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As shares on Wall Street and global market continue to tumble, Facebook cancels its annual developer conference due to coronavirus concerns

The impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the tech sector continues to be felt with the news that another tech gathering is to be cancelled.

Facebook said on Thursday that it will cancel its annual F8 developer conference due to fears over the coronavirus.

The economic impact of the outbreak is already being felt, with markets around the world plunging. Microsoft this week became the latest tech firm to warn that it does not expect to meet its quarterly revenue forecast for its Windows and personal computing business because of the virus.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and actor Andy Samberg at Facebook's F8 developer conference, 2018. Credit: Facebook

Facebook cancellation

That had come after Apple, which already closed all 42 stores in China, warned it may not be able to meet its March-quarter sales forecast, and also said there could be iPhone supply shortages in the months ahead.

As of Friday 28 February, the death toll from the coronavirus has reached 2,867 people worldwide, the vast majority in mainland China.

There are also 83,877 infections globally.

The outbreak has already seen the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress 2020 show earlier this month.

And now Facebook has joined this list when it warned that its F8 conference, which was scheduled to be held 5 and 6 May in San Jose, California, is to be cancelled. The event attracted 5,000 people from around the world last year, Reuters reported.

Facebook reported said it is planning other ways for its developer community to get together, namely via live streams, locally hosted events and videos.

Other cancellations

There have been cancellations or withdraws from other event as well.

Sony, Facebook, Microsoft and Epic Games for example withdrew from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco (to be held in March).

A number of participants of the RSA security conference this week have also pulled out, including IBM, AT&T and Verizon.

Microsoft said it still plans to hold its own developer conference in Seattle later in May.

And at the moment, Google still plans to proceed with its developer conference on 12-14 May, but both it and Microsoft said they are monitoring developments of the coronavirus outbreak, so this may change.

Last week the world’s largest contract manufacturer Foxconnn confirmed it was restarting production at its main Chinese factories, but they have yet to return to full manufacturing.

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