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Facebook removes VR shooting demo at top conservative conference

Facebook has said it regrets promoting a virtual reality shooting game on its stand at a US conservatives’ event.

The game allows the player to shoot imaginary weapons against enemies in a public train station.

Facebook said it removed the display at the Conservative Political Action Conference “out of respect” for victims of a recent school shooting in Florida.

“We regret that we failed to do so in the first place,” Hugo Barra, the company’s head of VR, told the BBC.

“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.”

The tech titan had already defended its presence at the political jamboree in Maryland this week.

“Facebook routinely participates in events hosted by organizations across the political spectrum,” a company spokesman said.

The event has been dominated by discussions over gun control following a school shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, last week.

One of the features of Facebook’s stand this year was a demonstration station for Oculus Rift, its virtual reality product.

The conference in Maryland – which featured multiple NRA representatives and far-right French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen – came one week after a shooter with an AR-15 rifle killed 17 people in Florida, sparking a wave of student activism and renewed scrutiny of Republican politicians funded by the NRA.

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.


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