Zuckerberg criticised following 'virtual tour' of Puerto Rico

Isaac Cain
October 11, 2017

To tease us all about those announcements and the general awesomeness of VR, the video saw Zuck and Facebook VR supremo Rachel Rubin visit the hurricane-battered island.

The video begins with Zuckerberg's and Franklin's avatars at Facebook's campus in Menlo Park, California, according to The Guardian.

Against a backdrop of what looks like a family wringing out water from their possessions, Zuckerberg extols the magic of Virtual Reality because "you can get the feeling that you are really in a place".

The CEO went on to describe the ways his company had helped the island after Hurricane Maria struck, but as he did, Franklin flicked through various videos of the damaged area, eventually settling on one of a severely flooded residential area.

The scene changes to show a flooded street. "It really feels like we're in Puerto Rico, and it's obviously a tough place to get to right now", Zuckerberg added. In reality, however, the flooded streets are full of sewage and therefore very unsafe to public health. They also announced that Facebook would launch the Oculus IV in the coming days. "But it's also important so that when relief workers go down there, they can coordinate with each other and know where people need help".

But a number of people on the internet, including certain media outlets, are arguing that Zuckerberg's attempt at highlighting his company's advanced technology was tasteless, even offensive.

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The rules of virtual reality are still being established, but here's an easy one: Don't use human disasters as a way to show off features of your VR product.

The company intends to help the flood-hit country via NetHope and the American Red Cross.

Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook had already donated more than $1 million to relief efforts.

According to The Verge, Zuckerberg used Facebook Spaces to get his big stupid face into hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, and straight back out of it as soon as he was finished telling the audience - because he live streamed this - about all the good things Facebook is doing in terms of aid and making facile comments like: "It feels like we're really here in Puerto Rico".

Needless to say, many weren't happy with the use of disaster relief to sell a product.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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