Facebook cancels conference while IBM pulls out of one due to coronavirus fears

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Facebook and IBM are cancelling their tech conferences plans due to fears about coronavirus.

IBM said Friday that it will not attend the annual RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco later this month, citing concerns about its employees potentially catching the virus that has killed over 1,000 people and infected over 44,000 people globally. 

“The health of IBMers continues to be our primary concern as we monitor upcoming events and travel relative to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” an IBM spokesperson told Fortune in an email. “As a result, we are cancelling our participation in this year’s RSA conference taking place February 24 – 28 in San Francisco.”

Meanwhile, Facebook said it is cancelling its Global Marketing Summit that was scheduled to take place from March 9 to March 15 in San Francisco, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The newspaper said that the marketing summit would attract about 5,000 attendees and generate an estimated $11 million for San Francisco’s economy. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, we canceled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” a Facebook spokesperson told the newspaper. 

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fortune.

IBM and Facebook’s decision to cancel their upcoming conference plans comes after organizers of this year’s annual Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona cancelled the event due to concerns about coronavirus.

But the wireless industry trade group that puts on the conference told Fortune that it would return next year.

“We have had overwhelmingly positive support from exhibitors and attendees looking forward to next year,” the GSMA group spokesperson said. “We believe in the power of the event in person.”

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