- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2018

Facebook on Friday removed a shooting game and other violent titles from a virtual-reality demonstration on display in its booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) amid facing criticism given last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The social network said it pulled certain games from its CPAC booth upon coming under fire after footage emerged Friday afternoon on Twitter of an attendee playing “Bullet Train,” a first-person shooter game that uses its Oculus virtual reality headset.

Hardly a week after 17 people were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the clip caused outrage upon being tweeted and quickly prompted Facebook to take action.

“There is a standard set of experiences included in the Oculus demos we feature at public events. 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,” Hugo Barra, Facebook’s VP of virtual reality, said in a statement,

“We got this wrong,” Mr. Barra tweeted.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, used a legally acquired semi-automatic rifle to open fire inside his former school last Wednesday, Feb. 14, according to authorities. He was arrested within hours and subsequently charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Addressing the topic of school safety this week, President Trump pointed to violent video games as a possible factor influencing mass shootings like the Parkland massacre.

“I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And you go one further step and that’s the movies. … maybe they have to put a rating system for that,” Mr. Trump said Thursday.

Bullet Train lets players “physically interact with an array of weapons, from guns to grenades to missiles, and even feel them through haptic feedback,” Oculus boasts on the game’s website.

Irate social media users had sounded off against Facebook after footage of the CPAC demo was first tweeted Friday by NowThisNews reporter Sean Morrow.

“Unless Facebook is charging CPAC attendees $5 to play & donating that money to gun safety organizations, this might be one demo to pull given circumstances,” tweeted venture capitalist Hunter Walk.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide