For all the nice Fb has achieved within the wake of Hurricane Maria, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sending his cartoon avatar to the ravaged streets of Puerto Rico on Monday afternoon stands out as a tone-deaf misstep. He capitalized on a pure catastrophe to advertise his firm’s new tech, and the entire thing simply felt … awkward.
Zuck despatched his curly-haired, smiling avatar on a digital journey to the struggling territory with Rachel Rubin Franklin, the chief of Fb’s social actuality crew, courtesy of a 360-degree video created by NPR.
Zuckerberg and Franklin’s cartoon avatars floated alongside observing floods and destruction as Zuckerberg waxed poetic concerning the “magical” high quality of digital actuality.
They even shared an ungainly excessive 5 in entrance of flooded houses whereas laughing about how they had been utilizing the Fb Areas tech from completely different locales.
Twitter and a few viewers commenting on the Reside video on Fb had been fast to ask an vital query…WTF?
Why is digital Mark Zuckerberg happening a digital tour of Puerto Rico?
— DarkSkintDostoyevsky (@daniecal) October 9, 2017
Mark Zuckerberg talks concerning the dire scenario in Puerto Rico as an AR toon.
“Loopy to really feel like we’re in the midst of it.”
Finish me. pic.twitter.com/a7mOoCIlHC
— ‘Ween Park 🎃👻 (@GenePark) October 9, 2017
The juxtaposition of Zuckerberg’s avatar bobbing round hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico was certainly bizarre, however seeing him attempt to transition to the following cease on his digital tour was much more cringeworthy.
After an ungainly alternate about how the duo felt like they had been actually in Puerto Rico, crammed with uncomfortable pauses and Zuck grabbing the digital digital camera to point out viewers the “fully flooded” road, the Fb founder asks his coworker if she desires to “teleport” some other place.
“Perhaps again to California?” Franklin mentioned with a nervous snigger, and shortly the 2 had been on their strategy to San Jose to face on stage ultimately 12 months’s Oculus Join three VR convention.
Regardless of this weird digital journey to Puerto Rico, Fb has carried out vital catastrophe reduction to assist the devastated island. About 15% of residents are nonetheless with out energy and solely about 19% of the territory’s cellphone towers are working, in accordance with a government website monitoring outages, even three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall.
Fb has donated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico reduction by means of World Meals Program and Internet Hope. The corporate has additionally despatched workers to assist with Puerto Rico’s connectivity points and has partnered with the Pink Cross to make use of a synthetic intelligence program to construct inhabitants maps, with the intention to find communities in want of help.
Maybe Zuck’s intention with this Fb Reside was to deliver a highlight to Puerto Rico, however plopping VR cartoons right into a catastrophe zone and peppering the dialog with nervous laughter simply feels ignorant.