Mark Zuckerberg apologises for his seemingly insensitive, livestreamed VR tour of flood-hit Puerto Rico

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who in a cartoon form toured flood-hit Puerto Rico as part of a live stream on Monday, received strong criticism for the tone-deaf VR tour. Zuckerberg later apologized in a reply to a Facebook comment for being unclear about the aim of the video.

As reported earlier, Zuckerberg and head of virtual reality team Rachel Franklin used the company's VR app Spaces to tour through a 360-degree video of Puerto Rico. The video was put up in a bid to raise awareness about the extent of flood-induced destruction in the country.

Cartoon representation of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook.

Cartoon representation of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook.

As reported by TechCrunch, the comment read, "One of the most powerful features of VR is empathy. My goal here was to show how VR can raise awareness and help us see what’s happening in different parts of the world. I also wanted to share the news of our partnership with the Red Cross to help with the recovery. Reading some of the comments, I realize this wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry to anyone this offended."

The report stated that Facebook specifically chose a cartoon to represent the two Facebook employees to refrain users from feeling intimidated by the control scheme. The Guardian in a report also slammed the social media giant stating the live stream as "part disaster tourism, part product promotion." The later was said as Facebook also announced during the live stream that it would launch the Oculus IV soon.

“When you’re in VR yourself, the surroundings feel quite real. But that sense of empathy doesn’t extend well to people watching you as a virtual character on a 2D screen. That’s something we’ll need to work on over time,” Zuckerberg added in another comment.


Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 09:52 AM