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Facebook to Mentor Start-ups Leveraging AI

According to the company, to date, more than 35 million people have signed up to be donors globally

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Social networking giant Facebook on Wednesday launched the “India Innovation Accelerator” programme with a focus on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Good”, under which it would mentor and support promising start-ups which are leveraging AI to address gaps within high social impact areas.

“We are an ally for India’s economic growth and social development and this summit is our effort to understand how we can contribute to the development of deep tech in India, as well as corral resources to use these technologies to develop impactful solutions for tough and persistent problems,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

The social media giant also launched “100 Scholarships for students and developers” who are focused on nurturing their ideas for utilising AI for social good. The scholarships would enable the students to gain access to advanced courses on Deep Learning.

It also launched “Women in AI Hackathons” which is aimed at encouraging diversity within the ecosystem by motivating women developers and women-led start-ups focused on AI.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

The winners would be provided courses on AI and machine learning (ML) by professors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.

“At Facebook we are also committed to growing the local AI ecosystem, which can be achieved by providing support to start-ups, to the student community, and by ensuring diversity within the ecosystem itself,” added Mohan.

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Another popular Facebook tool under the “AI for Social Good” initiative is its Blood Donation tool which helps connect blood banks and hospitals to blood donors who have registered themselves on the platform.

According to the company, to date, more than 35 million people have signed up to be donors globally. (IANS)

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Fake Ads on Facebook Spreading Rumours About anti-HIV Drugs

"Facebook and Instagram immediately remove the advertisements outlined above that are harming public health," it added

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Fake ads on Facebook are spreading rumours about the ill-effect of anti-HIV drugs, targeting LGBTQ Facebook and Instagram users and are causing significant harm to public health, a non-profit organization GLAAD has written in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“We are urgently reaching out to Facebook and Instagram regarding factually inaccurate advertisements which suggest negative health effects of Truvada PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).

“We request that Facebook and Instagram remove the advertisements and also publicly address the misinformation that the platforms allowed to spread,” the non-profit organization said in the letter.

Using Facebook’s and Instagram’s targeted advertising programs, various law firms are attempting to recruit gay and bisexual men who use Truvada PrEP as an HIV preventative to join a lawsuit, claiming that the drug has caused harmful side effects in this patient population, specifically bone density and kidney issues.

“This is despite numerous studies underscoring the safety of TDF in HIV-negative PrEP users,” said GLAAD.

Leading public health officials, medical professionals, and dedicated PrEP navigators and outreach coordinators have shared that these advertisements on Facebook and Instagram are being directly cited by at-risk community members expressing heightened fears about taking PrEP.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that when taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use.

“Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 per cent when taken daily.”

HIV test price in Delhi, HIV in Delhi, STD test in Delhi
HIV is a virus that impairs the body’s immune system badly and eventually takes the patient closer. Pixabay

By allowing these advertisements to persist on their platforms, said the letter, Facebook and Instagram are convincing at-risk individuals to avoid PrEP, invariably leading to avoidable HIV infections.

“You are harming public health.”

Facebook was yet to comment on the letter.

Facebook’s Advertising Policy regarding misinformation in ads states that “Facebook prohibits ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise.”

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We are the organizations with “particular expertise,” said GLAAD.

They demanded immediate action to ameliorate the harm which has already been caused to those who may be seeking preventative treatment against HIV.

“Facebook and Instagram immediately remove the advertisements outlined above that are harming public health,” it added. (IANS)