Facebook announced on Thursday the cancellation of its annual developer conference scheduled for early May due to mounting concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus epidemic.
“Celebrating our global developer community at the F8 conference every year is incredibly important to us, but we are not going to sacrifice the health (of our partners and employees) to do this,” said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Programs and platforms for Facebook developers.
This gathering organized in San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, attracts thousands of engineers every year. It consists of presentations and workshops on the various platforms and products of the world’s leading social network: Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus (virtual reality).
The two conference days will be replaced by local sessions, especially for students, and “live video content”.
“We looked for other ways to organize the F8 in person, but (…) we wouldn’t have made sense to do it without our international developers,” added Facebook.
More than 78,600 people have so far been infected with the new coronavirus in China, including more than 2,700 fatally. The disease also affects dozens of other countries, with an estimated 3,600 infections and more than 50 deaths.
Drastic measures are multiplying in the world: Saudi Arabia has thus suspended the entry of pilgrims and Japan has closed its schools.
Last week Facebook had already announced that it would not participate in the annual conference of video game developers, scheduled in San Francisco in March, like Sony, Japanese giant of the sector. The publisher Electronic Arts have also planned to restrict its presence.
American health authorities have identified 60 people infected with the new coronavirus: 15 on American soil and 45 returnees from China and a cruise ship blocked in Japan.
But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Wednesday evening the first case of “unknown exposure” among the 15 patients. Treated in California, this person has neither traveled to risk areas nor been in contact with another patient.