Following continued concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus, Facebook and Twitter have officially pulled out of the South by Southwest festival. SXSW will continue as planned while implementing a range of sanitary and safety measures put in place to protect both attendees and staff.
It seems to be just about every other day that we have to cover some kind of event cancellation due to the coronavirus and while SXSW does seem to be the exception, that doesn’t mean the event hasn’t seen its share of cancellations over the past day. The festival celebrating the unity of film, music and interactive media has lost two of its biggest attendees, Facebook and Twitter, as both companies have concerns over the coronavirus.
In a statement to Engadget, Facebook confirmed it would not be attending the event. “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year,” clarified the social media platform. Facebook’s cancellation shouldn’t come as a huge shock to many as they recently confirmed that their biggest annual event, F8, was halted for similar reasons.
Facebook’s departure comes just a day after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that his company will also not be attending SXSW. Dorsey, who was scheduled to personally appear at the festival, cancelled his plan following a company-wide policy to restrict travel due to the coronavirus. “Twitter is implementing a mandatory global business travel restriction for our employees, effective immediately. This unfortunately includes SXSW,” a spokesperson for Twitter told Deadline.
With companies postponing and cancelling events all over the place, it’s anyone’s guess as to what lies in wait for the rest of 2020’s big media events. While E3, the largest gaming conference and convention in the world, is still currently taking place in June we have to speculate that the ESA, organisers of the event, are hoping for the best given E3’s steady decline in popularity amongst gamers, developers and publishers alike.
One also has to speculate as to whether or not Apple will be conducted their usual September event in 2020 if the coronavirus doesn’t slow down. Apple has already pulled out of a handful of events this year due to the virus so one can only assume they’d be even more careful regarding their big annual event event. Only time will tell whether or not the coronavirus will slow its ravaging of the world.