A few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg launched a virtual reality video presenting the recent situation of Puerto Rico, but it didn’t have quite the desired effect. The Facebook CEO wanted to present the efforts his company took to help the country ravished by Hurricane Maria, but most viewers understood the video in a different way. Therefore, he felt the need to express his excuses, and explain once again the purpose of the VR.
The VR was meant to raise awareness about Puerto Rico
Zuckerberg launched a virtual reality session where he toured the streets of Puerto Rico right after the country got struck by Hurricane Maria. There, he presented all the efforts in which Facebook engaged to relieve the existence of the hurricane’s victims, and told people how they could also help. However, his brightly-smiling avatar didn’t quite fit the destroyed look of the country, and many people didn’t enjoy this presentation.
One of the users, for instance, disagreed with Zuckerberg’s choice to use a virtual character instead of his real face to talk about the Puerto Rico disaster. Zuckerberg quickly offered a reply to this comment, explaining how everything looks incredibly real in VR. However, sending the same feeling of empathy to those who watch it is difficult, especially through a 2D video.
Zuckerberg publicly apologized for the poor choice of video
He wanted to use VR to show people they can easily understand what happened in Puerto Rico, or in other ravished parts of the world. By becoming part of a landscape, you cannot help feeling empathy for the people affected by a natural disaster.
However, this didn’t become clear for the watchers of the footage. Therefore, Zuckerberg felt the need to apologize to anyone who got offended by the VR video. The difference between being in VR and watching the experience from outside is huge, and it’s understandable why it gave rise to controversies. However, choosing a cartoonish virtual reality video to get people’s attention on the problems of Puerto Rico might not have been the best choice.
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