In a move that rivaled the president tossing rolls of paper towels, free-throw style, into a crowd of hurricane survivors, Mark Zuckerberg created his own completely avoidable public-relations disaster Monday when he chose to demonstrate Facebook's new Facebook Spaces app -- which lets users explore real destinations as Wii-like cartoon avatars -- in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. [...]
"We're in a 360 video in Puerto Rico... we're on a bridge here, it's flooded," grinning cartoon Zuckerberg said in the Facebook Live video. "You can get a sense of some of the damage here that the hurricanes have done, and one of the things that's really magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling that you're really in a place." [...]
Evidently, Zuckerberg didn't anticipate that his Puerto Rican tour might add fuel to the flames. "This street is just completely flooded," he said. "Can you see this behind me? I mean, this is what it looks like down here." Franklin responded: "It's crazy to feel like you're in the middle of it." "Yeah," Zuckerberg said. "You want to go teleport to somewhere else?" They then took off for the surface of the moon.
Zuckerberg drew criticism from some Facebook users after appearing to forget the name of Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm that devastated the island in September, while simultaneously describing how VR is "magical" in its ability to virtually teleport people to disaster zones. [...]
Zuckerberg then went on to give Franklin a virtual high five while their cartoon avatars stood in front of a virtual street of flooded homes.
Even when Zuckerberg and Franklin's Disney-fied avatars aren't pulling an Al Roker in front of Puerto Rico disaster porn, they still sound eerily like Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein doing a Portlandia sketch. From their time "on" the moon:
Franklin: "Do you wanna take a selfie?"
Zuckerberg: [silently staring off into the cosmic middle distance for way too long] "Yeah, sure."