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Facebook cancels annual F8 conference due to coronavirus concerns

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Facebook has canceled its annual F8 Software Developer conference due to coronavirus conerns.

The conference was scheduled to be held on May 5 and 6 at the McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose. 

The news caught community leaders by surprise.

“I didn’t see it coming. We’ve been planning for Facebook to return to downtown San Jose,” Scott Knies said. “They’ve been holding the convention here now for a couple years. It’s been extraordinary they just transformed the whole convention center and it’s going to be a real loss not to have them this season.”

In a statement, Facebook said:

“Celebrating our global developer community at F8 each year is incredibly important to us at Facebook, but we won’t sacrifice the health and safety of our community to do so… Out of concerns around COVID-19, we’re cancelling the in-person component of F8, but we look forward to connecting with our developer partners through local events, video and live streamed content….”

“We’re disappointed that Facebook has made a decision today, but we appreciate their support to the city of San Jose and the community,” Francis Wong said. “And we welcome Facebook back whenever they’re ready.”

Sources said approximately 5,000 people attended last year’s F8 conference. 

The economic impact of the cancellation was not immediately available. But there are worries other bookings may be in jeopardy to say nothing of the collateral dame to hotels, restaurants and other services that cater to convention business, according to Knies.

“Less people means less commerce for everyone so there is definitely a trickle effect when you have visitors who are not showing up, you have rooms that were booked, conferences that were booked that aren’t being held,” Knies said. “It certainly trickles down to the man on the street.”

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