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Mark Zuckerberg apologises for use of VR video to highlight Puerto Rico aid message

Yesterday, Zuckerberg used Facebook’s app Spaces to roam through a VR-produced 360 video of Puerto Rico.

Image: Facebook

FACEBOOK CEO MARK Zuckerberg has apologised after criticism of his decision to deliver a message of humanitarian aid through a virtual reality video.

Yesterday, Zuckerberg used Facebook’s app Spaces to roam through a VR-produced 360 video of Puerto Rico.

Through his avatar in the video, Zuckerberg said the company is using artificial intelligence to build population maps as part of an effort with the Red Cross, following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

During the video, Zuckerberg said it would be possible to use satellite imagery of an area to understand where people live and understand how infrastructure is working within those communities.

While the announcement itself was not unusual for Facebook – the company has donated funds and resources to help the humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico – it has received much criticism due to the way Zuckerberg used VR to deliver the message.

In a comment under the Facebook video, Zuckerberg issued an apology. However, the video remains online.

“My goal here was to show how VR can raise awareness and help us see what’s happening in different parts of the world,” Zuckerberg said.

“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 realise this wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry to anyone this offended.”

Facebook Spaces is a social app built for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which aims to make you feel immersed in various scenarios.

“It feels like we’re really here in Puerto Rico, where it’s obviously a tough place to get to now and a lot of people are obviously suffering from the aftermath of the hurricanes,” he said in the VR video, with scenes of the hurricane disaster behind him.

We’re on a bridge here, it’s flooded, and you can get a sense of some of the damage here that the hurricanes have done.

“This is an area that Facebook is very focused on in trying to help out in the recovery effort.”

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