Facebook removed Friday a virtual-reality shooter game demo from a booth it has set up at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), after people drew attention to it online and questioned whether it was appropriate in light of the shooting last week in Parkland, Fla.
A video of attendees playing the game using Facebook’s Oculus virtual-reality headset was posted by NowThisNews reporter Sean Morrow on Twitter.
“There is a standard set of experiences included in the Oculus demos we feature at public events,” Hugo Barra, Facebook’s vice president of virtual reality, said in a statement to The Washington Post on Friday evening. “A few of the action games can include violence. In light of the recent events in Florida and out of respect for the victims and their families, we have removed them from this demo. We regret that we failed to do so in the first place.”
Facebook said that the game shown is called Bullet Train which is part of a standard set of VR game demos that are often shown at public events. Facebook said it had removed all violent games from the demo Friday.
Facebook and Google both have a major presence at the conservative conference, being held in a Maryland suburb of Washington this year; Google is a sponsor. Both have a complicated relationship with American conservatives. The companies have been criticized by voices on the right for censoring conservative views in the past; notably, Facebook met with political leaders in 2016 after concerns surfaced that its News Feed editors were disproportionately censoring conservative views.
Yet both have also been criticized for allowing hateful far-right agendas and misinformation to spread on their information networks.