Ahead of Facebook's Oculus Connect 4 VR conference, which starts tomorrow, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been showing off the company's Spaces app by transporting his virtual self to the moon, his home, and, bizarrely, devastated areas of Puerto Rico.
Zuckerberg responded to a comment on the post, saying his goal was to show that virtual reality technology "can raise awareness and help us see what's happening in different parts of the world".
Alison Main of Mashable said "Zuckerberg sending his cartoon avatar to the ravaged streets of Puerto Rico" was a "tone-deaf misstep", and that "he capitalized on a natural disaster to promote his company's new tech".
Zuckerberg's also sent a team of Facebook engineers to the island to help people get "connected"... which we can only assume means, get back on Facebook. "One of the things that's magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling that you're really in a place".
Though few doubt Zuckerberg's intentions, his livestream left him open to criticism and failed to communicate his desired message.
Some noted that Facebook was bringing continued coverage to Puerto Rico, keeping people engaged on an issue with waning media interest. The livestream presentation took place at the company's Menlo Park, California headquarters, with the pair wearing Oculus headsets.
"I hear that. When you're in VR yourself, the surroundings feel quite real". It's meant for you to create engaging News Feed content that draws in your friends, sucks up personal data, and allows for advertisers to target your demographic. Further, stressing the importance of the Internet, he said that relief workers should be able to coordinate to find out the spot where people are looking for help. Rick Branson, a former engineering manager at Facebook-owned Instagram, wrote on Twitter in response to the VR stunt.
Many wan apologies contain the phrase "not our intention" or "to anyone it might have offended".
On November 10, Zuckerberg said it was a "pretty crazy idea" that fake news on Facebook influenced the election.
Facebook has used a dedicated blog called Hard Questions to provide updates on Russian ads and its cooperation with Congress. The company has also reportedly hired two crisis communications firms and has at least one job posting on its site for a policy communications manager with crisis communications experience.