Facebook pulls gun game from conservative gathering

Facebook-owned Oculus shows off virtual reality games routinely at conferences

Afp February 24, 2018
Attendees visit the Facebook Help Desk inside the Conservative Political Action Conference Hub at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. PHOTO: AFP

Facebook pulled a virtual reality gun game from a major US conservative political gathering Friday, saying the demo was a mistake given the recent deadly school shooting in Florida.

"We removed the demo and regret failing to do so at the start," Facebook virtual reality vice president Hugo Barra said in a tweet sent from his verified account.

"We got this wrong."

Facebook-owned Oculus shows off virtual reality games routinely at conferences, and the shooting content was among standard offerings, including action games with violence, according to Barra.

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"These shouldn't have been present, especially in light of recent events and out of respect for the victims and their families," Barra said in the tweet.

The Facebook booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington gave attendees opportunities to try Oculus experiences. A video snippet of virtual, first-person gun wielding was posted on Twitter.

Outrage erupted, with people questioning the California-based social network's morals and whether money mattered more than morals to the platform.

Thousands of Republicans converged on CPAC, where they gather each year to celebrate their causes -- and, in 2018, the populist movement that swept Trump into the office one year ago.

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But it was impossible to ignore the ever-present tragedy of rampaging gun violence, which has roiled American political discourse and put gun rights advocates and opponents under a hot spotlight.

Florida's governor meanwhile announced that a police officer will be stationed at every public school in the state as part of a plan to improve security following last week's deadly high school shooting.

And President Donald Trump repeated his call for arming some of America's teachers and claimed the controversial proposal was increasingly drawing support.


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