CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg declared today on a Facebook post that the social media company will cancel all of its large physical events with more than 50 attendees through June 2021, reports Engadget. In the post, Zuckerberg expressed hope that this move would help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO Facebook Mark Zuckerberg cancels all large events
While some events will be held as virtual events, Facebook has not shared how the majority of economic and tech advancement expected from these events will play out. Zuckerberg also said that his company will extend its no-business-travel policy until at least June 2020, and will expect "the vast majority" of Facebook employees to work remotely through at least the end of May.
UPDATE April 16, 2:55 PM EDT: Mark Zuckerberg's statement, previous Facebook cancelations
In the Facebook post, which Zuckerberg framed as an update to Facebook's plans in confronting the current pandemic, he said:
"We're slowing our plans to return to the office in order to prioritize helping the rest of our community and local economy to get back up and running first."
He also acknowledged that most people aren't able to work from home as easily as many employees, and stressed that when "society does eventually start re-opening (sic), it will have to open slowly in staggered waves to make sure that the people who are returning to work can do so safely," to minimize the potential of second-wave future outbreaks, wrote Zuckerberg.
He added that a small percentage of "critical employees" who are unable to work remotely, "like content reviewers working on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers working on complex hardware," will possibly be allowed to return sooner.
Regarding the cancelation of large events, Zuckerberg stated that guidance from public health experts does not advise large gatherings in the near future.
"Given this, we're canceling any large physical events we had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021," said the Facebook CEO.
UPDATE April 16, 3:10 PM EDT: COVID-19 continues to disrupt Facebook events
This comes on the heels of Facebook's earlier cancelation of the 2020 F8 developers conference, initially scheduled for May 5 and May 6. With today's announcement, we now know F8 won't take place (at least in person) in 2021, either.
This also means Oculus Connect — an event typically held in September — will also be canceled, in addition to GDC 2020, which Facebook already said it would not attend.
While it's mind-bending to comprehend what it means for such a wide sector of the world economy to go on virtual hold until June 2021, we should expect to see more organizers in the tech space to push big events into digital and virtual formats for the foreseeable future.
This is breaking news, so be sure to return here for more developments.
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