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Facebook and Twitter Back Out of SXSW Due to Coronavirus Worries

Festival still set to happen as scheduled

Citing concerns about the spread of coronavirus, Facebook and Twitter have both pulled out of the 2020 South by Southwest festival, scheduled for March 13-22 in Austin.

“We will no longer be participating in SXSW this year out of an abundance of caution related to the health risks presented by Coronavirus,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email.

Twitter announced yesterday it would institute a ban on all “non-critical” travel and events. “As a global company with a global workforce, we want to do what we can to help the success of these multi-stakeholder containment efforts,” it said in a blog post. The company is also encouraging its staff to work from home.

SXSW announced Monday that several high-profile speakers will appear at this year’s event, including Hillary Clinton and Bob Costa. For now the ten-day music festival and keynote event is still set to proceed as planned, despite calls to cancel it including a Change.org petition that has more than 46,000 signatures.

The two social media companies are only the latest to shift plans in response to the spread of the illness. Earlier Monday, CNN parent company WarnerMedia restricted travel for its news and sports employees, telling employees in an email that all intercontinental travel must be personally approved by the company’s News and Sports head Jeff Zucker.

And earlier Monday, in a press conference the Trump administration confirmed so far there have been more than 100 confirmed cases and 6 deaths.

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