Facebook is facing a backlash after it showcased a virtual reality shooting game at a right-wing political conference on Friday.
The tech company, which was already facing criticism from some quarters for donating funds to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), was criticized when a video was posted on Twitter of its demo of a virtual reality game called “Bullet Train,” which lets players use an imaginary gun to shoot players on a train.
The social media giant removed the demonstration game and one of its executives expressed “regret” over the CPAC incident, in the wake of growing scrutiny of all things gun-related after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting left 17 dead and galvanized students nationwide to demand change.
In a statement to Fox News, Hugo Barra, Facebook’s vice president of VR, said the company has a “standard set” of demos for events, including “action games” with “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,” he said in a statement.
The game is for Facebook's Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
The conservative gathering in Maryland, which featured representatives from the National Rifle Association, came a week after a shooter armed with an AR-15 rifle opened fire inside the South Florida high school.
“Images that attack the victims of last week’s tragedy in Florida are abhorrent," said Mary deBree, head of content policy, in an email. "We are removing this content from Facebook.”