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Facebook pulls out of the SXSW conference citing coronavirus concerns

Facebook pulls out of the SXSW conference citing coronavirus concerns


Twitter pulled out earlier today

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook has pulled out of the upcoming SXSW conference in Austin, TX, according to a company statement given to Business Insider. “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year,” said the statement, which Facebook also shared with The Verge. Twitter announced earlier today that it had pulled out of SXSW as well. This evening, SXSW said the event was still proceeding as planned.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has taken a number of actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Today, the company said it would be restricting social visits to physical offices and conducting job interviews primarily over video conferencing tools. Last week, it canceled the in-person portion of its F8 developer conference, which would have taken place on May 5th and May 6th. It also canceled a global marketing conference planned for this month on February 14th.

Many other tech industry events have also been canceled out of caution for coronavirus. Google and Microsoft today canceled two small conferences, though their major developer conferences that take place in May are still scheduled, at least for the moment. The Game Developers Conference, originally planned for later this month, has been postponed to sometime this summer. And Mobile World Congress, which was scheduled to take place in Barcelona at the end of February, was canceled twelve days before the show was supposed to start.

More than 3,000 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel strain of coronavirus, including six people in Washington state over the past few days.