The coronavirus has struck again! Facebook has joined Twitter in withdrawing from the 2020 South by Southwest festival (SXSW). Their withdrawal from the event is due to the corona virus pandemic.
Though SXSW is declaring that the event will go on as planned, many notable attendees have decided to withdraw from the event. Among them are Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter and Facebook confirmed their withdrawals yesterday. Here is how it went.
How and when Twitter withdrew from SXSW 2020?
It was this Sunday that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey postponed his plans to be at the event. This was mainly due to the company’s stance and curbs on travel due to the coronavirus outbreak and crisis.
A Twitter spokesperson, in fact, stated: “Twitter is implementing a mandatory global business travel restriction for our employees, effective immediately. This, unfortunately, includes SXSW.”
Apart from Jack Dorsey, the company canceled employee travel to that event and further announced yesterday that it was stopping all business travel and events that were not crucial in nature.
The policy took place with immediate effect at the time of announcement. It would remain in effect due to two reasons:
- Until and unless a vaccine for the corona virus has been discovered.
- The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control declare it is safe to step back from precautionary measures regarding the pandemic.
Twitter spokesperson Siobhan Murphy stated in an email to an undisclosed media firm that the company travel restriction on employees included SXSW unfortunately.
Even the organization’s #TwitterHouse at SXSW which was to have an array of events and programs has been canceled as well.
Why did Facebook withdraw from SXSW 2020?
Facebook revealed that it withdrew from SXSW 2020 because of concerns regarding the corona virus. This move came shortly after Twitter’s withdrawal from the event.
According to a statement released by Facebook’s spokesperson: “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year.”
The company spokesperson also stated that the company did not have any additional details upon being asked about the number of employees expected to attend the event.
The 2020 SXSW is scheduled to start on March 13 and end on March 22 in Austin, Texas.
The massive drop in the rate of participation from large tech organizations is raising concerns about whether the SXSW will be postponed days before it’s scheduled to start or not.
Recently a petition has been signed by more than 25,000 individuals on Change.org which calls for the cancellation of SXSW 2020.
According to reports in different media outlets, SXSW organizers said that the event would still go on as planned. Several Facebook employees were scheduled to speak at the conference.
Last year’s SXSW brought in more than 400,000 attendees from around 105 countries.
Is Facebook’s decision to avert SXSW 2020 a surprising decision?
The social media giant’s decision to avoid the event is not a surprise. Facebook recently canceled its F8 developer conference, which could have taken place on May 5 & 6 in San Jose, California, due to coronavirus concerns.
A global marketing conference planned on February 14 was also canceled by the company.
However, Facebook intends to host local events and stream videos online. It has also restricted social in-person visits to its physical offices.
The social media giant has decided to conduct job interviews through video conferencing tools and methods.
Any other events that have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak?
This move was followed by the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress which was to be held this year in Barcelona, Spain, twelve days before the event could start at the end of February.
The same led to the postponement of the Game Developers Conference, which will be rescheduled somewhere in Summer this year.
On Monday, Google also stated that its event Cloud Next, to be held in April, will take place virtually this year with streamed keynotes and sessions live.
Microsoft has also canceled one of its conferences due to the coronavirus pandemic. The same goes for the Geneva Motor Show.
How bad is the Coronavirus outbreak now?
The Corona virus outbreak has worsened. It causes a disease known as COVID-19.
The pandemic was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year. It has spread rapidly across the planet (except Antarctica) in a span of two months.
It has killed more 3000 people (mostly in the People’s Republic of China). It has also infected more than 89,000 people around the globe.
More cases of it have emerged in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, and Italy. In the past few days, 6 people have died due to the corona virus in the U.S State of Washington.
Though the World Health Organization has stopped short of calling it a pandemic, it has declared it a public health emergency of international concern at the end of January.
The outbreak of the corona virus has caused the following occurences:
- It has negatively impacted public health.
- The stock market is experience turbulence.
- There are imminent fears of an economic meltdown.
- It has caused a monumental slowdown in manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain networks in the People’s Republic of China.
Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are currently wrestling the spread of false information. They are taking needed steps to prevent the spread of conspiracy theories and other false things that can cause panic.
The withdrawal of Facebook and Twitter from the 2020 SXSW indicates how bad the coronavirus outbreak has become. The spread of COVID-19 has progressed at a blazing pace and the situation is worsening.
Though the World Health Organization, leading healthcare bodies and State Governments around the globe are scrambling to control the outbreak, many are yet unsure of what is coming next.
We advise everyone to stay safe and take the necessary measures to protect themselves against COVID-19 and the Corona Virus.