Published: Mon, February 26, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Facebook apologizes for virtual shooting game demo at CPAC

Facebook apologizes for virtual shooting game demo at CPAC

Facebook was demo'ing futuristic combat-simulation game "Bullet Train" in its booth at CPAC in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. The company and the game's developer, Epic Games, have showed off the VR experience at trade shows before.

Hugo Barra, Facebook's vice president of VR, said the company has a "standard set" of demos for events, including "action games" with "violence".

Facebook pulled a violent virtual reality game from its stand at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference following a wave of criticism.

An Oculus demonstration featuring violence shouldn't have been offered at the conference, "especially in light of recent events & out of respect for the victims & their families", Barra said.

"We removed the demo & regret failing to do so at the start". The game was developed by Facebook's Oculus subsidiary.

Some were offended by this choice, given the closeness to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Facebook, which has been criticized by some for giving money to CPAC, faced backlash Friday when video emerged of its Oculus demo game that appeared to involve rapid-fire shooting.

However, some of the motivation to pull Bullet Train from CPAC may also have been instigated by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly trotted out rambling, scientifically unsupported arguments that violent video games play a role in mass shootings.

Facebook representatives at the booth have been instructed to not talk about conspiracies about the Parkland shooting, according to Kira Lerner, a reporter at ThinkProgress. Over the past week, some users have spread the fake theory that the students now actively calling for gun control are paid actors.

"Facebook routinely participates in events hosted by organisations across the political spectrum", Facebook said in an statement.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to critics by saying he was attempting to use virtual reality to evoke empathy and raise awareness about the disaster.

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