Facebook (FB) is canceling all of its planned physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021 due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of those events will be held virtually instead, wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on his Facebook page on Thursday.
Zuckerberg also said the “vast majority” of Facebook employees will work from home through at least the end of next month. The company is extending its policy of no business travel through at least June.
“A small percent of our critical employees who can’t work remotely, like content reviewers working on counter-terrorism or suicide and self-harm prevention, and engineers working on complex hardware, may be able to return sooner, but overall, we don’t expect to have everyone back in our offices for some time,” Zuckerberg said.
Covid-19 has infected more than 2 million people and killed at least 137,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The outbreak has stretched Facebook to its limits, as it battles to combat misinformation and deal with unprecedented surges in usage from millions working remotely. The company’s Coronavirus Information Center that it has placed at the top of Facebook newsfeeds has been shown to over 2 billion people, out of which more than 350 million people have clicked on it so far, Zuckerberg revealed during a CNN town hall Thursday night.
Zuckerberg also said employees who feel they can’t return to the office for reasons such as lack of childcare can work remotely through at least the summer.
The Facebook CEO elaborated on the decision during the CNN town hall, saying the company’s workers could afford to be hunkered down for longer and should give “right of way” to those that can’t.
“We’re fortunate enough to be able to work productively from home, software engineers can do that,” he said. “I don’t know how long this will take for society to reopen, but I would imagine that we would be among the last back to the offices in order to make sure that others can get back first.”
In February, Facebook canceled F8, its biggest annual event, due to concerns over the coronavirus. At F8, which is aimed at developers, the company typically shares its future vision and teases new features and products. Facebook also canceled a large advertising conference in San Francisco.
Apple (AAPL) moved its annual developer conference to online only. Google (GOOGL) initially moved its developer conference to online, but later canceled it completely.