A cartoon version of Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, visited hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico on Monday, in a tone-deaf livestream that was part disaster tourism, part product promotion.
Zuckerberg, along with Facebook’s head of social virtual reality, Rachel Franklin, appeared as avatars within the broadcast from his profile as they “teleported” to different locations using Facebook’s “social VR” tool Spaces. In reality, the two were speaking from the comfort of their offices in the company’s campus in Menlo Park, California, wearing virtual reality headsets.
“One of the things that’s really magical about VR is you can get the feeling you’re really in a place,” said Zuckerberg as his grinning avatar floated over scenes of flooding and destruction.
“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,” he added before he and Rachel high-fived within the virtual space with the sombre scenes of Puerto Rican devastation around them.