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Facebook skipping SXSW amid coronavirus outbreak

Facebook skipping SXSW amid coronavirus outbreak
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Tech giant Facebook on Monday announced that it would not participate in this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) festival due to coronavirus-related concerns.

“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.

A number of 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.

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Fellow social media giant Twitter has also announced measures related to the spread of the virus, restricting all nonessential employees from travel. CEO Jack Dorsey was supposed to speak at SXSW, but no longer will attend the event.

Officials for SXSW, which is scheduled to the run March 13-22, 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 told the Statesman.

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.