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Coronavirus Fears Force Facebook To Cancel Its Annual Developer Conference

Coronavirus Fears Force Facebook To Cancel Its Annual Developer Conference
Fears over the coronavirus outbreak forced the social media giant Facebook to cancel its annual developer conference. This was announced by the company amid increasing concerns among investors over the overall economic impact of the outbreak which drove down global financial markets for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday.
The annual developer conference of Facebook – known as the F8 conference, was scheduled to be held May 5 and 6 in San Jose, California, and last year about 5,000 people from around the world had attended it. 
On the other hand, while saying that it was still sticking to its annual developer conference scheduled for later in May in Seattle. Microsoft Corp said announced its decision not to participate in a gaming conference that is to be held in San Francisco next month. Facebook and Microsoft are among a growing list of global and large companies that have either withdrawn from participating or are cancelling their corporate events while also putting a travel ban on their employees from travelling to areas affected by the virus outbreak all across the world.
Facebook has now decided to organize "a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content" instead of the F8 event, said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook's director of platform partnerships.
A temporary ban for its employees on travelling to mainland China, South Korea and Italy for business- the countries that have reported a significant rise in cases of the virus infection have been issued by Facebook, a company spokesman told the media earlier.
Smaller corporate events and functions are also getting cancelled over fears of the coronavirus. For example, a three-day leadership development conference scheduled for San Francisco's convention center next week was cancelled by Santa Monica, California-based skin care products seller Beautycounter, which instead has decided ot hold a one day online conference.
Microsoft too is contemplating holding a digital-only event from March 16-18 instead of the Game Developers Conference. Earlier, while cancelling its global marketing conference San Francisco where 4,000 participants gather usually, Facebook had also withdrawn from participating in the gaming conference.
A coronavirus case of unknown origin in northern California was reported on Wednesday by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California is the headquarters of some of the largest tech companies of the world. This is the first reported incident of spreading of the virus within communities in the US.  More than 8,400 people were being monitored for coronavirus symptoms after arrival on commercial flights, said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday. However he also informed that there was a lack of test kits for the virus in the state and its efforts at addressing the virus threat was being hindered by federal testing rules.
One of the largest etch related events in the world and the – The Mobile World Congress (MWC) of Barcelona where telecoms industry representatives gather every year, was cancelled earlier this month over coronavirus fears and mass withdrawals of participants. 

Christopher J. Mitchell

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