Amidst LS polls in India, Meta approves hate-filled ads demonising Muslims, rejects one taking dig at Modi

News Network
May 21, 2024

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India is currently polling in the Lok Sabha elections, and AI-generated videos that spread disinformation have emerged as a major threat. As per a report, Meta approved several political advertisements manipulated by Artificial Intelligence that spread disinformation during Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Facebook reportedly approved ads that contained slurs towards Muslims in India like “let’s burn this vermin” and “Hindu blood is spilling, these invaders must be burned” along with disinformation about political leaders and other messages with Hindu supremacist language.

Another advert approved by the owner of Facebook and Instagram called for an opposition leader's execution who as per a false claim sought to “erase Hindus from India”. This ad contained the image of a Pakistan flag alongside the message.

The report comes at a time when the social media platform X had to recently take down an animated video shared by the Karnataka unit of the BJP after an Election Commission direction.

India Civil Watch International (ICWI) and Ekō, a corporate accountability organisation created and submitted these adverts to Meta's ad library to test the company's mechanism to detect and block harmful political content.

All adverts “were created based upon real hate speech and disinformation prevalent in India, underscoring the capacity of social media platforms to amplify existing harmful narratives," the report mentioned.

The researchers submitted 22 adverts to Meta in English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Kannada, of which 14 were approved. Another three were approved with small tweaks. However, once approved, the researchers immediately removed the ads before their publication.

The research concluded that Meta failed to detect the presence of AI-manipulated images in all of the approved ads.

While five of the adverts, including one with some allegations against PM Modi were rejected on charge of breaking Meta's policy on hate speech, the report noted that the 14 others approved targetted Muslims and “broke Meta’s own policies on hate speech, bullying and harassment, misinformation, and violence and incitement."

“Supremacists, racists and autocrats know they can use hyper-targeted ads to spread vile hate speech, share images of mosques burning and push violent conspiracy theories – and Meta will gladly take their money, no questions asked,” the Guardian quoted Maen Hammad, a campaigner at Ekō as saying.

In response, Meta clarified that they require advertisers to disclose their use of AI.

“When we find content, including ads, that violates our community standards or community guidelines, we remove it, regardless of its creation mechanism. AI-generated content is also eligible to be reviewed and rated by our network of independent factcheckers – once a content is labeled as ‘altered’ we reduce the content’s distribution. We also require advertisers globally to disclose when they use AI or digital methods to create or alter a political or social issue ad in certain cases," the company said in response.

Meanwhile, Meta has been accused in the past of failing to curb Islamophobia on its platforms.

“This election has shown once more that Meta doesn’t have a plan to address the landslide of hate speech and disinformation on its platform during these critical elections,” Hammad said questioning how one can trust Meta if it fails to detect even a handful of AI-generated images.

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coastaldigest.com news network
June 17,2024

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Mangaluru, June 16: Muslims in Mangaluru observed Eid al-Adha today by offering prayers in mosques and Eidgahs, exchanging greetings, and sacrificing animals, as the monsoon rain took a break in the region.

Congregational Eid prayers were held in dozens of mosques across the city. Thousands of Muslims gathered at the Masjids and Eidgahs early in the day. Hundreds of women and children also participated in prayers at some of the Masjids. Special 'dua' was offered for peace in the country and around the world, including Gaza.

Dressed in new clothes, Muslims visited their relatives' houses, where they were treated with special sweet dishes. Platters of a variety of delicious cuisines were prepared in Muslim households.

Children in festival attire added color to the celebrations. People wished each other Eid Mubarak and hugged as a large number of photographers captured the poignant scenes of the festival prayers and greetings.

In their Eid sermons, Khateebs exhorted the believers to follow the ideals of Prophet Ibraheem (pbuh), who had decided to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismaeel (pbuh) as ordained by Allah.

Eid al-Adha is an occasion of joy and peace, where people celebrate with their families, let go of past grudges, and make meaningful connections with one another. It commemorates Prophet Ibraheem’s willingness to sacrifice everything for God.

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News Network
June 11,2024

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Bengaluru/Mysuru: Well-known Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa and 10 others have been arrested for the murder of 33-year-old from Chitradurga, Bengaluru police said on Tuesday.

S Girish, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West), confirmed the development.

"We have taken him (Darshan) into custody for the murder of a man named Renukaswamy. The case has been registered at the Kamakshipalya police station. Ten more people have been taken into custody and we are interrogating them," Girish said and declined to give more details.

Police sources said that the 47-year-old 'Challenging Star' was picked up from Indiranagar (Ittigegudu) in Mysuru, his hometown, around 8:30 am. He is being brought to Bengaluru.

Renukaswamy's body was recently found in western Bengaluru's Kamakshipalya. There were injury marks on the head and other body parts.

Darshan, among the A-listers of Kannada cinema, has often been in conflict with the law but this is the most serious allegation against him. 

“CCTV was examined, and the victim was identified as Renukaswamy from Chitradurga,” the Bengaluru Police said.

What is the case?

According to sources, the preliminary investigation revealed that Renukaswamy had sent obscene messages to the actor’s girlfriend Pavithra Gowda.

Police sources disclosed that Renuka Swamy had harassed Pavithra Gowda. Following Pavithra’s complaint, Darshan allegedly instructed Vinay, an associate, to bring Renuka Swamy to Bengaluru.

According to the police, the victim, Renuka Swamy, was murdered on June 8. His body was found in a drain in Kamakshipalya, located in Bengaluru, on June 9. Mr Swamy, who worked for a pharmacy company, had sent "obscene messages" on social media to an actress close to Darshan, the police said. 

Mr Swamy was from Chitradurga, over 200 km from Karnataka's capital. 

Local residents reportedly alerted the police to the murder when they saw stray dogs dragging a body from the drain. Investigations led to the arrest of some suspects who allegedly directed the police to Darshan.

"He was my only son. Last year he got married. I spoke to him on Saturday only. I want justice," Mr Swamy's father Srinivasaiah said. 

Police have provided tight security at Darshan's RR Nagar residence in Bengaluru.

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News Network
June 11,2024

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Mangaluru: A woman from Andhra Pradesh drowned in the sea off Ullal beach. The locals were successful in rescuing four others from drowning.

The deceased was identified as Parimi Rathna Kumari (57), wife of P L Prasanna from Serilingampally. When a group of women were on the shore of Ullal beach, a huge wave washed them away.

A group of five women from Hyderabad had gone to Mysuru on June 6. After touring in Mysuru, they hired a car to travel to Kodagu on June 7. On June 9 they visited Kukke Subrahmanya. On Monday, they had visited Dharmasthala and Ullal beach where the mishap occurred, said a member in the group.

The locals rescued four women, however, Parimi Rathna lost consciousness in the water. Later, her body was retrieved and taken to the hospital where she was declared dead. 

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