Facebook joins Microsoft in calling off events until summer 2021
On Thursday (16 April), Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media company would be cancelling all physical events with more than 50 people until June 2021.
The news comes less than a fortnight after Microsoft announced that all of its upcoming events will be held online until July 2021.
Zuckerberg said: “Guidance from health experts is that it won’t be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while. Given this, we’re cancelling any large physical events we had planned with 50 or more people through June 2021.”
The CEO said that some of these events will now be held online, as virtual events, and that the company will share more details on this in the future. The cancellations include the company’s upcoming Oculus Connect 7 virtual reality conference, which will now be replaced by an online event.
The company has also extended its policy of no business travel to at least June of this year as well.
Returning to work
Although Facebook is holding off on large events, the company looks set to bring certain employees back to their offices as soon as possible.
Facebook hopes to bring “critical” employees who can’t work remotely back to the office first. These employees include content reviewers who work in the areas of counter-terrorism, self-harm and suicide prevention, as well as engineers working on complex hardware.
Zuckerberg said that beyond these critical workers, Facebook is “slowing” its plans to return to the office, the company said that the vast majority of employees will be working from home through “at least the end of May”.
The reason why Facebook is slowing its return to the offices is to prioritise the rest of the community and get the local economy back up and running first, according to Zuckerberg.
The Facebook boss said that many of the company employees “are fortunate to be able to work productively from home”, so the company feels a responsibility to allow the people who don’t have this flexibility to access shared public resources first.
Zuckerberg added: “We’ve also let our employees know that even after more of our teams return, if there’s any reason they feel they can’t work in our offices – because they are in a vulnerable population, because with schools and camps cancelled they don’t have childcare, or anything else – that they can plan to work from home through at least summer.”
“I hope this helps contain the spread of Covid-19 so we can keep our communities safe and get back up and running again soon,” Zuckerberg concluded.