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Zuckerberg’s virtual tour of devastated Puerto Rico strikes an awkward tone

Forward of Fb’s Oculus Join four VR convention, which begins tomorrow, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been exhibiting off the corporate’s Areas app by transporting his virtual self to the moon, his dwelling, and, bizarrely, devastated areas of Puerto Rico.

Together with Fb’s head of social VR, Rachel Franklin, Zuckerberg’s avatar was imposed over a 360-degree video from NPR that confirmed the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The livestream presentation befell on the firm’s Menlo Park, California headquarters, with the pair sporting Oculus headsets.

Zuckerberg defined how his agency has donated $1.5 million to the nation’s aid effort, activated the social community’s Security Examine function, and despatched workers to the island to assist with its connectivity issues so residents and the emergency companies can get again on-line. Fb can be working with the Crimson Cross to construct inhabitants maps with satellite tv for pc imagery to assist spotlight areas the place support is most wanted.

However the livestream usually felt awkward at greatest. “One of the issues that is actually magical about VR is you will get the sensation you are actually in a spot. Rachel and I aren’t even in the identical constructing within the bodily world, but it surely looks like we’re in the identical place and may make eye contact,” stated Zuckerberg, earlier than sharing what have to be one of probably the most inappropriate high-fives of all time with Franklin, as their avatars stood in entrance of a flooded dwelling.

The second Zuckerberg factors out that “this avenue is totally flooded” whereas in entrance of an picture of a flooded avenue can be a spotlight. “It’s loopy to really feel such as you’re within the center of it,” Franklin responded.

Regardless of the help it has provided within the wake of the hurricane, Fb is now dealing with criticism for seemingly utilizing the catastrophe to advertise one of its merchandise.

Zuckerberg stated he plans to “announce some stuff I’m not going to announce now” on the upcoming VR convention. Do not anticipate him to do it whereas just about touring a catastrophe website once more.

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