Facebook canceled an annual San Francisco conference because of coronavirus concerns

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  • Facebook is canceling an annual marketing conference held in San Francisco out of coronavirus concerns.
  • The cancellation comes as the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 60,000 people, with 15 confirmed cases in the US.
  • Facebook’s canceled Global Marketing Summit also follows Barcelona’s canceled Mobile World Summit, a major tech conference that was slated for late-February.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook is canceling an annual conference held in San Francisco out of health concerns regarding the coronavirus.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we canceled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said in a statement.

The annual marketing conference was slated to take place March 9-12 at the city’s Moscone Center in the SOMA District, a popular venue space. It typically brings in about 5,000 guests who would stay at multiple hotels.

The cancellation comes as concerns surrounding the virus, which is now known as COVID-19, continue to grow. The coronavirus has infected more than 60,000 people, with at least 1,370 reported deaths from the virus. The US has confirmed 15 coronavirus cases across seven states, with the 15th case confirmed near San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday.

The canceled conference also follows the cancellation of another tech conference, Barcelona’s Mobile World Summit, a major annual mobile industry event that was slated for late-February and whose attendees were to include Amazon, Intel, Sony, and others. Facebook was one of many drop-outs that led to the decision by conference organizers to shelve the event for this year.

Facebook’s cancellation also follows Oracle’s decision to pull its annual mega-conference, OpenWorld, from San Francisco and to Las Vegas due to attendee feedback complaining of high rent costs, high hotel rates, and “poor street conditions.” The event used to take place in the same venue, Moscone Center, and its removal from the city is resulting in a $64 million economic impact for San Francisco. But a San Francisco Travel spokeswoman told the Chronicle that Facebook is still intending to hold the summit in San Francisco in the future.

“Facebook has assured us that it is not related to San Francisco specifically and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2021, 2022 and beyond,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, told the Chronicle.

If the virus and public concern regarding it continues to grow, questions may arise about Facebook’s largest event of the year, its annual F8 developer conference, that is held in May as Business Insider’s Rob Price reports.