Websummit CEO Paddy Cosgrave Alamy Stock Photo
Web Summit

Meta and Google become latest major companies to pull out of Web Summit

Meta and Google’s announcements come after the withdrawal of Intel, Siemens and a string of celebrities.

META HAS BECOME the latest tech giant to pull out of Web Summit, The Journal understands.

The news follows the announcement by Google earlier this afternoon that it was withdrawing from the tech event following comments made by its chief executive Paddy Cosgrave in relation to Israel and Palestine. 

The latest withdrawals comes after announcements by Siemens and Intel that they would also not be participating in this year’s event. 

The Irish Independent has also reported this afternoon that the payment firm Stripe has also withdrawn its keynote speakers from the event.

In a statement this afternoon a spokesperson for Google said: “We will no longer have a presence at Web Summit”.

Earlier today, it was reported that X-files actress Gillian Anderson has withdrawn from her speaker spot at this year’s event too, while entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the rapper LL Cool J are no longer listed on Web Summit’s online speaker page.

The slew of withdrawals come after Cosgrave made comments about the war between Israel and Hamas for which he subsequently apologised for after some international tech backers pulled out of this year’s conference.

Cosgrave said he was “shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments”, who have supported Israel. “War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies.”

He later condemned the attacks by Hamas and expressed his “hope for peaceful reconciliation”.

However, the Israeli ambassador to Portugal, Dor Shapira, described the statement as “outrageous”, and said he has written to the Mayor of Lisbon informing him that Israeli companies will not be attending this year’s Web Summit.

Cosgrave initially defended his comments, saying he “is not going to relent”. However, he has since issued an apology for the “timing” of his opinion and “the way it has been presented”.

“I unreservedly condemn Hamas’ evil, disgusting and monstrous October 7 attack. I also call for the unconditional release of all hostages,” he said in a statement published on the Web Summit site.

“I unequivocally support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. I unequivocally support a two-state solution.

“Like so many figures globally, I also believe that, in defending itself, Israel should adhere to international law and the Geneva Conventions – ie, not commit war crimes … No country should breach these laws, even if atrocities were committed against it.”

Cosgrave said he had tried to echo the sentiments of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who urged Israel to avoid harming civilians.

Web Summit is scheduled to take place in Lisbon from 13 November to 16 November.

The tech conference, which was previously held annually in Dublin until 2016, attracts thousands of companies, startups and speakers each year.  

With reporting from Mairead Maguire.