Like many a tech leader, Mark Zuckerberg has assumed that what is good for his company is good for the world, but now the world is not so sure.
"Rachel and I aren't even in the same building in the physical world, but it feels like we're in the same place and can make eye contact". But that sense of empathy doesn't extend well to people watching you as a virtual character on a 2D screen. It's bland, inoffensive, and set in an environment that's more suited to be shown off in Facebook Spaces - and for Zuck's, uh, unique brand of showmanship.
Given the devastation Hurricane Maria has caused, with Reuters reporting yesterday that the death toll in Puerto Rico has reached 43, some found the video offensive.
Facebook is also working to restore internet connectivity on the island and has donated money to the relief effort. The new headset, however, addresses two major problems analysts have said stand in the way of adoption: high prices and a complicated setup process.
By which, he means Facebook has turned on Safety Check, to let users 'check-in' to Puerto Rico and indicate they're alive, and 'Community Help' so that locals can post on Facebook if they need food, shelter or urgent medical attention. Earlier this month, the Facebook CEO implied that people upset about Russian propaganda were as bad as those who wanted liberal content removed from Facebook.
Vanity Fair's Maya Kosoff called the video a "completely avoidable public-relations disaster". It will also ship with a controller that users can hold in one hand, to point, poke or otherwise interact with the environment around them.
"Thank you again for all your financial help".
Some noted that Facebook was bringing continued coverage to Puerto Rico, keeping people engaged on an issue with waning media interest. Another said, "thank you for bringing light at what is going on in our beautiful island".
The company intends to help the flood-hit country via NetHope and the American Red Cross. He wrote in a comment on his post, "Reading some of the comments, I realize this wasn't clear, and I'm sorry to anyone this offended".
As of Tuesday afternoon, the video had more than 1.7 million views.
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