Facebook is pulling out of this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music and tech festival and Google is canceling the physical part of Cloud Next event, over concerns around the current spread of COVID-19.
The virus outbreak, with a global death toll exceeding 3,000, has spread to more than 60 countries, upending global supply chains and threatening economic growth.
It has lead to the cancellation or disruption of other events including The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Facebook’s F8 annual developers conference last month.
Twitter made a similar decision on Sunday evening, announcing that, due to its mandatory global business travel restriction, its employees would not be able to attend the event.
SXSW, set to be held in Austin, Texas, next week, had previously said the event would proceed as planned despite “a handful” of cancellations related to the virus.
A Change.org petition calling for the cancellation of SXSW had more than 24,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
Seperately, Google today announced that it is canceling the physical part of Cloud Next, its cloud-focused event and its largest annual conference by far with around 30,000 attendees, over concerns around the current spread of COVID-19.
Cloud Next was scheduled to run from April 6 to 8. Instead of the physical event, Google will now host an online event under the "Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect" moniker. So there will still be keynotes and breakout sessions, as well as the ability to connect with experts.
The virtual event will be free and in an email to attendees, Google says that it will automatically refund all tickets to this year's conference. It will also automatically cancel all hotel reservations made through its conference reservation system.