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On Tuesday night, a package delivered to a building at Northeastern University containing the school's virtual reality center exploded and injured a 45-year-old male employee, according to Boston police and reports. Police were called at 7:18 p.m. and arrived at the scene after one minute, officials said at a press conference. Another "similar" suspicious package was found and was "rendered safe" by the bomb squad, Boston PD Superintendent Felipe Colone said. The investigation is ongoing, with the FBI lending the support of its Joint Terrorism Task Force, evidence response team, and bomb techs.
The bomb was allegedly accompanied by a "rambling" note railing against Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg "and the relationship between academic institutions and the developers of virtual reality," CNN reported, citing unnamed law enforcement sources. Zuckerberg recently rebranded Facebook as Meta and refocused the company on virtual reality and the so-called "metaverse," which for Meta means holding work meetings using a headset with virtual avatars that have been widely criticised for being less advanced than even smaller competitors in the VR space. When reached for comment by Motherboard, a Boston police spokesperson declined to offer more information beyond the department's press release, which did not mention a note, but did mention that the package was delivered to Holmes Hall. Holmes Hall contains the Immersive Media Lab, which is the meeting location for Northeastern Virtual Reality, an organization that was "founded to provide virtual and augmented reality experiences at no cost to Northeastern students" and foster a collaborative development environment for VR projects. Northeastern University and Northeastern Virtual Reality did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Samantha Cole contributed reporting to this article.