Citing Coronavirus, Facebook pulls out of SXSW

Add social media giant Facebook to the growing list of companies pulling out of this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival due to Coronavirus-related concerns. Monday, the company joined tech companies Twitter and Intel.

Some Facebook employees were scheduled to appear on panels at the event. The company’s withdrawal from the festival comes after Facebook already canceled two of its own conferences due to concerns over the virus that has infected more than 90,000 people worldwide.

“Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year,” Facebook spokesman Tracy Clayton told the Austin Statesman of the company’s plans to skip the popular festival in Texas.

Fellow social media giant Twitter has also announced it would not attend the popular conference, which starts March 13, due to the spread of the virus. The company also went as far as restricting all nonessential employees from travel. CEO Jack Dorsey scheduled to speak at SXSW.

Officials for SXSW have said that the festival will still happen.

“SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority,” festival officials said in a statement.

The event has been held in Austin, Texas, on an annual basis for more than 30 years. The gathering normally includes a wide array of topics from technology panels to film, to music and media.

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The Keynotes announced include Chief Creative Officer of TBWA\Media Arts Lab Brent Anderson; and the “Are You Ready for the Future of Space Exploration?” Keynote with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, astronauts Jasmin MoghbeliTyler N. “Nick” Hague, and CNN Business writer Jackie Wattles.

Newly-announced Featured Speakers include Katie CouricMr. EaziChris EvansEmily V. GordonTamron HallGillian JacobsKarlie KlossKumail NanjianiFrank OzRZAAlicia Tillman, and more.

The Hill, Austin Statesman and South By Southwest contributed to this article.

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