Facebook pulls out of SXSW due to coronavirus worries


Facebook had been scheduled to be represented by about a dozen speakers at the annual film, music and technology festival in Austin, Texas. — Reuters

LOS ANGELES: Social networking giant Facebook has opted out of the SXSW over concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

"Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year," the company said on March 2 in a statement.

Facebook had been scheduled to be represented by about a dozen speakers at the annual film, music and technology festival in Austin, Texas. The festival runs from March 13 to 22.

Twitter bailed out of SXSW on March 1, announcing that the employees would not be allowed to attend due to its mandatory global business travel restrictions. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is also skipping the event, when he had been scheduled to be interviewed by Dan Primack of Axios.

The cancellation came four days after the worldwide pandemic prompted Facebook to cancel this year's F8 developers conference.

The F8 2020 was scheduled for May 5-6 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. The social networking giant had held the conference every year since 2007, and last year's F8 drew more than 5,000 attendees, according to the company.

As of March 2, six people have died in Washington state from the coronavirus and United States health official are dealing with more than 100 cases of the disease. At least 11 states have cases of coronavirus: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, New York, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

More than 3,000 people have died from the coronavirus, most of them in China. – Variety.com/Reuters

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