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New Mexico-Based Paramilitary Group Barred from Using Facebook Fundraising Tools

"People cannot use our fundraising tools for activities involving weapons," said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement"

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Boundary Monument 1, a historic U.S.-Mexico border marker, is seen from Sunland Park, N.M., April 24, 2019. This unfenced area of the border west of the Rio Grande was shown in videos shot by the United Constitutional Patriots. VOA

Facebook Inc on Thursday barred a New Mexico-based paramilitary group that has stopped undocumented migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border from using its fundraising tools and said it would remove any of its posts that violated company policies.

Facebook made the statement after a civil rights organization asked it to block videos posted by the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), saying the clips violated its standards, which prohibit images showing criminal acts.

“People cannot use our fundraising tools for activities involving weapons,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. “We will remove fundraisers this group may try to start on our service and any content that violates our Community Standards.”

Since February, the UCP has posted a string of videos showing members armed with semi-automatic rifles halting migrants in New Mexico and telling them to sit and wait for U.S. Border Patrol to arrest them.

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Larry Hopkins appears in a police booking photo, April 20, 2019. VOA

The UCP says the videos demonstrate its work helping Border Patrol detain some 5,600 migrants in just 60 days during a surge in illegal crossings. Civil rights groups accuse the group of illegally detaining asylum-seekers.

“These videos include content showing possible assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment,” the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement Thursday asking Facebook to remove them.

UCP spokesman Jim Benvie did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a Facebook Live post on Tuesday, he described the group’s videos as “citizen journalism” showing reality on the border. “There is a crisis at the border, we are being invaded,” Benvie said.

Social media policies

Facebook’s Community Standards bar users from publicizing crime, using hate speech or presenting arguments for restricting immigration policy, among other things, the spokesperson said.

facebook, us-mexico border
“People cannot use our fundraising tools for activities involving weapons,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. VOA

PayPal and GoFundMe on Friday barred the UCP, citing policies that prohibit the promotion of hate or violence. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham last week called for an investigation of the group.

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The FBI arrested the UCP’s commander, Larry Hopkins, on Saturday on federal weapons charges dating back to 2017. Hopkins was assaulted in a New Mexico jail on Monday and hospitalized with broken ribs.

The UCP left its campsite Tuesday after Union Pacific Railroad accused it of trespassing, but Benvie said it would soon relocate to a nearby spot along the border. “We’re not going to quit fighting, we’re not going to quit reporting,” he said. (VOA)

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Facebook Selects Six Projects from India for AI Ethics Research

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India

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The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category. Pixabay

To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics.

The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category.

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India. The proposed budget should be within Rs 10,00,000 to Rs 20,00,000, Facebook said.

In the operationalising ethics category, the two selected projects include “Patient-Centric Frameworks for the Evaluation of AI-Enabled Medical Tests” that has Amit Sethi of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT Bombay) as the principal investigator and “Targeted Bias in Indian Media Outlets” that has Animesh Mukherjee of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) as the principal investigator.

Facebook, India, AI
To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics. Pixabay

One of the research projects picked for the governance category, “Ethical Implications of Delegating Decision-making Journey to AI Systems”, has Rahul De from the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM Bangalore)

The other project selected for the governance category, “A‘Public Law of Information’ for India”, has Sudhir Krishnaswamy from the Centre for Law and Policy Research as its principal investigator.

“Mitigating Bias in Face Recognition for Vast Regional Diversity in India” which has Richa Singh from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi) as principal investigator is one of the projects selected in the cultural diversity category.

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The other project is “Regulatory Impact Assessment of the National AI Market Place of India” which has Varadharajan Sridhar from the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-Bangalore) as principal investigator. (IANS)