Facebook announced yesterday that it won't host its annual F8 developer conference this year because of the Coronavirus outbreak. But the company said that it will attempt to make up for the cancellation "through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content" and that it still plans to host F8 in 2021.
F8 is just the latest tech-related conference affected by Coronavirus. GSMA canceled Mobile World Congress 2020, Sony pulled out of PAX East and multiple companies announced that they won't attend the Game Developers Conference 2020 because of the viral outbreak. We suspect other events will suffer from similar problems.
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The news might be troubling for developers, but it could be devastating for business owners in San Jose who have likely come to rely on the sudden influx of visitors. Facebook also donates a percentage of F8 ticket sales to "an organization working to diversify the tech industry," with the maximum donation amount being $250,000.
This year the company will attempt to address both of those problems by donating $500,000 to "organizations serving local San Jose residents." That should at least help offset the economic impact of F8's cancellation. (Although we doubt $500,000 makes much of a dent in the lost revenues that will result from this decision.)
Facebook said it will "share additional details on our plans for F8 in the coming weeks," and the company updated the conference's website with an email sign-up form people can use to receive more information about its plans for the event. It's not clear if any product announcements intended for F8 will be revealed this way.