Mark Zuckerberg Has Apologized For The Facebook VR Tour Of Flooded Streets And Damaged Buildings In Puerto Rico

Live from virtual reality — teleporting to Puerto Rico to discuss our partnership with NetHope and American Red Cross to restore connectivity and rebuild communities.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, October 9, 2017

The Internet can’t decide whether or not this was a good idea.

On Oct. 9, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s head of social VR, Rachel Dwyer, showed off the social media platform’s virtual reality experience. The promotional livestream was done via Facebook Live because branding. However, one section of the video really bothered some people. During their tour, Zuckerberg and Dwyer went to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico. The video was intended to show the Facebook audience how they’ve been assisting the American Red Cross and NetHope with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. However, some people saw it as exploitative.

The Facebook video showing avatars in Puerto Rico has really caught the Internet’s attention in a bad way…

And in a good way.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

Some critics of the video argue that showing scenes from devastated Puerto Rico was unnecessary and tone deaf. However, Zuckerberg received some support from people with family in Puerto Rico because of the work Facebook has been doing on the island since Hurricane Maria hit.

One moment that got people’s attention was when Zuckerberg and Dwyer’s  avatars high-five in front of a flooded house.

After the livestream, the Internet was divided on the video, with some accusing the company of exploiting Puerto Rico for press.

Puerto Ricans have been struggling to get back on their feet since Hurricane Maria tore through the island. Food, water, medicine, and basic necessities are running low and some still haven’t heard from family and friends on the island. Several companies, including Facebook, are sending resources and people to help in the recovery of Puerto Rico.

Some considered the VR promo helpful in bringing attention to what is happening in Puerto Rico.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

And, he does look like a early 2000s Justin Timberlake in VR form.

Zuckerberg replied to the comments criticizing the promo video and apologized.

Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook

“One of the most powerful features of VR is empathy,” Zuckerberg posted. “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.”

So, let us know. Do you think the VR promo was in bad taste?

READ: The Latino Workers At Facebook Have Joined A Union To Get Better Pay To Afford Decent Housing

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