The two Facebook executives appeared as animated avatars superimposed on several real-life locations including Facebook's headquarters, the moon, and amid the devastation on storm-ravished Puerto Rico.
A cartoon version of Mark Zuckerberg visited Puerto Rico through virtual reality on Monday to talk about Facebook's hurricane relief efforts. At one point, Zuckerberg enthused, in that affectless but enthusiastic tone he's adopted since getting media training: "One of the things that's really magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling you're really in a place".
Zuckerberg's also sent a team of Facebook engineers to the island to help people get "connected"... which we can only assume means, get back on Facebook. The live-stream saw Zuckerberg and Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook, represented as cartoon avatars in flooded areas of the USA territory, where citizens are still struggling to access clean water, electricity and other necessities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The CEO went on to describe the ways his company had helped the island after Hurricane Maria struck, but as he did, Franklin flicked through various videos of the damaged area, eventually settling on one of a severely flooded residential area.
While cars inched by on flooded bridges and men huddled drinking bottled water, Zuckerberg and Rubin floated eerily in front of them, smiling and untouched by the misery surrounding them.
Facebook is working with the Red Cross to use artificial intelligence to build population maps, where satellite survey of the area will show where people live and the density of the infrastructure, "to help responders figure out where people need help the most". The pair then high five as they virtually hang over some Puerto Rican devastation.
But a number of people on the internet, including certain media outlets, are arguing that Zuckerberg's attempt at highlighting his company's advanced technology was tasteless, even offensive.
The Menlo Park, California-based company has donated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico relief through the World Food Program and Net Hope. Further, stressing the importance of the Internet, he said that relief workers should be able to coordinate to find out the spot where people are looking for help.