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Facebook to pull out over coronavirus concerns

Social media giant Facebook said Monday it will not participate in South by Southwest this year amid rising concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

“Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year,” Tracy Clayton, a Facebook spokesman, said by email Monday evening.

The company had a number of employees scheduled to be guest speakers on SXSW panels. It also planned to host a Facebook house and an activation in East Austin as part of its artists in residence program, Clayton said.

Facebook had already canceled two of its own conferences as a precaution and has implemented restrictions on travel.

Facebook is the second major tech company to pull out of the festival due to fears of coronavirus. On Sunday, Twitter announced a ban on all nonessential travel for employees and said CEO Jack Dorsey would no longer be a featured speaker at the event.

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