Zuckerberg's virtual tour of devastated Puerto Rico strikes an awkward tone


"You can look at satellite imagery of an area and get a sense of where it is that people actually live and the density of different places", he said.

Mark Zuckerberg has made some pretty tone-deaf moves in his time.

What was perhaps most peculiar about the announcement was that it was given by a cartoonish Mark Zuckerberg avatar speaking from the company's Spaces virtual reality app that runs on the Oculus Rift headset. "One of the things that's really magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling that you're really in a place".

The company activated community help "so if people could say they needed food or shelter people in the community could provide that", Zuckerberg said, without noting that without the internet it wouldn't work. The live-stream saw Zuckerberg and Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook, represented as cartoon avatars in flooded areas of the U.S. territory, where citizens are still struggling to access clean water, electricity and other necessities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

But the video is also cringeworthy: Zuck stops in front of an image of a flooded street and observes "this street is completely flooded", prompting Rubin to say "It's insane to feel like you are here".

The company intends to help the flood-hit country via NetHope and the American Red Cross.

The rules of virtual reality are still being established, but here's an easy one: Don't use human disasters as a way to show off features of your VR product.

Facebook uses artificial intelligence to develop "population maps" to offer satellite imagery of a specific area.

Zuckerberg explained how his social media conglomerate implements safety measures and features during natural disasters like the most recent hurricanes affecting Houston, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands.

The Facebook CEO noted that Internet connectivity is crucial for people caught in the middle of such situations so that they can convey messages with their loved ones. The team will help to increase coordination in relief efforts.

The Facebook CEO - represented by his Oculus avatar - took Facebook users on a 360-degree video tour of the devastation left on the island by Hurricane Maria. "That's going to help the Red Cross figure out where people are who need help".