Facebook's F8 dev conference is returning virtually, and without Zuckerberg

Shawn Knight

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What just happened? Facebook canceled the in-person component of its mostly-annual F8 developer conference last year due to concerns over what would eventually become the Covid-19 pandemic. The follow-up plan was for Facebook to host the conference as a virtual event in April 2020 but that was ultimately called off as well. For 2021, Facebook said it wants to “bring F8 back to its roots.”

They’ll do so with a new event format called F8 Refresh. The one-day virtual event will take place on June 2 and is open to developers from around the world.

Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, VP of platform partnerships at Facebook, said the event will showcase the latest tools to help developers build for Facebook’s family of apps. Attendees will also have access to new product demos, panels and deep-dive sessions, just as they would at an in-person conference.

A Facebook representative told TechCrunch that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will not host an opening keynote during F8 Refresh. Instead, Papamiltiadis will kick off the event.

Facebook hosted its very first F8 dev conference in 2007. At the event, Zuckerberg unveiled the concept of the social graph and put out a call to developers to build apps that integrate deeply with Facebook. "Until now, social networks have been closed platforms," Zuckerberg said. "Today, we’re going to end that." Boy, was he right.

Interested parties can sign up to be notified when official registration opens.

Images courtesy Andrej Sokolow, Frederic Legrand

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