TikTok won't have an official presence at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, scheduled to take place March 13-22nd. The social networking company is the latest in a slew of companies to pull out of the festival over concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Other recent names to back out of SXSW include Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which said yesterday that its CEO Jack Dorsey would be canceling his scheduled talk, with travel for all staff canceled to ensure the health of its employees is not compromised by exposure to the virus, which does not yet have a vaccine.
SXSW remains a holdout — Most major events scheduled to occur in the next few months have been either canceled or postponed, including Facebook's F8 and most recently Google's I/O developer conference, which was just canceled earlier today.
Based on how things are going it seems like only a matter of time before the organizers of SXSW have to cave and cancel like the rest or face a potential ghost town as companies around the world put a temporary ban on employee travel. SXSW is a popular gathering place for companies and PR reps to mix and mingle, and without that audience or its corporate spend I can't imagine SXSW will be nearly as successful. The organizers might be considering the potential lost tax revenue to the city as one reason to go ahead.
As it stands right now, confirmed coronavirus infections have surpassed 80,000 globally with more than 3,000 dead. Numerous cases are now being reported in the United States — 9 people in Washington state alone have died at the hands of the virus. I think one year without SXSW might be okay. The tacos are good, but not that good.