Facebook apologizes for virtual shooting game demo at CPAC

Alfred Osborne
February 24, 2018

The social media company, which has since removed the demonstration game and expressed "regret", was already facing scrutiny for attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a high-profile event that featured speeches attacking gun control advocates and a renewed call from Donald Trump to arm school teachers.

People shared footage of the shooting game at the conference, which prompted the social media giant to respond.

Facebook was demo'ing futuristic combat-simulation game "Bullet Train" in its booth at CPAC in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. The company and the game's developer, Epic Games, have showed off the VR experience at trade shows before. Developed by Epic Games, the experience is now available for free on Facebook's Oculus Rift.

After media drew attention to the "Bullet Train" demo, Facebook announced Friday it was shelving violent game titles from its exhibit.

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"Unless Facebook is charging CPAC attendees $5 to play & donating that money to gun safety organisations, this might be one demo to pull given circumstances", venture capitalist Hunter Walker tweeted. Facebook reps here told me they're not going to talk about that. A few of the action games can include violence.

But at least when it came to showing off a shooting game, Facebook chose to remove it. The company was criticized for including the game so soon after the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people were killed. In light of the current occasions in Florida and keeping in mind the casualties and their families, we have expelled them from this demo. Some users are spreading the false theory that students who are now acting as activists are paid actors.

"Facebook routinely participates in events hosted by organisations across the political spectrum", Facebook said in an statement. "Our presence allows us to share information about our products as well as facilitate a dialogue in which people can share their views and create content to engage their audiences".

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