Fifty-Two Public Health Groups Demand Facebook Remove Latest Round of ‘Frightening’ HIV Ads

Fifty-two public health companies and LGBTQ organizations wrote a public letter to Facebook Monday demanding it remove misleading advertisements about HIV prevention medicine.

The posts imply that HIV-negative people could suffer health complications from prevention pills only seen in a shrinking group of HIV-positive people, thus deterring them from treatment, the letter claims.

Advocacy groups say that they’re not able to spend a comparable sum on counteradvertising and that Facebook should consider the real-world implications of the ads, which in effect make HIV transmissions more widespread.

Facebook told The Washington Post that its third-party fact-checkers didn’t find falsehoods in the campaign, which is largely pushed by private injury attorneys.

Indeed, a component of Truvada, the only Food and Drug Administration–approved prevention medicine for HIV, has been shown to cause kidney failure and bone density problems in people with HIV treated between 2001 and 2015. The ads don’t include these details and instead reference Truvada more broadly.

Misleading HIV campaigns are nothing new, according to Rich Ferraro, a spokesperson for GLAAD, the national LGBTQ advocacy group that helped spearhead the letter’s demands. He said GLAAD, formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, was founded in the 1980s because of the “misinformation and disgusting coverage of HIV” at the time.

“Since GLAAD’s founding almost 35 years ago, we have worked together with other leaders in the HIV and AIDS activism community fighting back against misinformation, factual inaccuracies and stigmatizing ads,” Ferraro added.

More broadly, today’s HIV campaigns are also noteworthy for what they don’t include—the fact that people with HIV are living very long and healthy lives when taking the proper medications, Ferraro said. “That has been a proactive push that has yet to catch on in mainstream media,” he said.

In 2013, the National Library of Medicine launched a traveling exhibit examining the “confusing and at-times counterproductive” response in the 1980s to the HIV epidemic. In its digital gallery, posters, comic books and postcards offer a range of warnings about HIV transmission.

Some have withstood the test of time, like one campaign by the New York State Department of Health that clarifies that HIV “does not discriminate.” Rather, anyone, male or female, straight or gay, can pick up the virus from shared needles or unprotected sex.

But some warned that AIDS causes blindness or endorsed masturbation in lieu of having sex with strangers. Others associated sex with death more directly, like one poster by AID Atlanta that depicts a handsome young man above a caption that reads: “This man killed 17 women and loved every minute of it,” implying he passed HIV to women during intercourse.

Advertisements abroad could be even more sinister. One featured a grim reaper, meant to represent the deadly HIV virus, that came after men, women and children in a bowling alley. Commissioned by the Australian government with that country’s National Advisory Committee on AIDS, it was pulled in 1987 amid a backlash.

While less dramatic than ads from decades past, the “frightening” Facebook campaigns are doing more damage, according to Peter Staley, a co-founder of PrEP4All Collaboration and longtime AIDS activist. “I must say, this is in a class of its own. This example, we think, is directly spreading HIV,” he said.

The campaigns also target LGBTQ communities and people of color because of their higher rates of HIV infection, according to Raniyah Copeland, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. These groups already have more medical distrust than their white or straight counterparts, Copeland said.

One such post features a person of color with a somber look on his face. It lists side effects from “taking an HIV drug,” such as “kidney disorders,” and claims “the manufacturers had a safer drug & kept it secret.” Another features a young white man with his eyes closed and hands clasped. It reads: “Truvada & other TDF drugs prescribed to prevent or treat HIV may harm kidneys and bones.”

Both feature links to law firms or ongoing lawsuits.

In the letter, the advocacy groups asked Facebook to remove the ads and commit to a review of current policies meant to prevent false public health statements from reaching users.

Facebook relies on its independent fact-checkers, including those from the Associated Press and conservative website the Daily Caller, to vet dubious claims, the Post reported.

Asked whether HIV advertisements should be treated with stricter standards, a Facebook spokesperson told Newsweek that its fact-checkers were all certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, which maintains a commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness in its code of principles.

“Since we don’t think it’s appropriate for us to be the arbiters of truth, we rely on the International Fact-Checking Network to set guidelines for these high standards,” the spokesperson said in a statement.


Source: Fifty-Two Public Health Groups Demand Facebook Remove Latest Round of ‘Frightening’ HIV Ads

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Altered Video Of CNN Reporter Jim Acosta Heralds A Future Filled With ‘Deep Fakes’ – Lauren Aratani




A viral clip of an interaction between CNN reporter Jim Acosta and a White House intern has sparked an intense online debate over whether it was doctored—a harbinger of the polarization that’s likely to follow if manufactured videos known as “deep fakes” become widespread. The clip, a tweaked version of a video showing Acosta and a White House staffer who attempted to take his microphone at a press conference Wednesday, was posted by Paul Joseph Watson of conspiracy site………

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Beaches Getting Sand to Replace What Irma Washed Away – Larry Barszewski


More sand is on the way for beaches in south Broward County that took a hit from Hurricane Irma last year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to spend $9.7 million in January to truck in and replenish about 123,000 cubic yards of sand — enough to cover a football field with sand 57 feet high — lost during the storm on beaches south of Port Everglades. The project in January won’t make the south county beaches wider, but it will put more sand on dry sand areas away from the water…….

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Prisoner, Wife Allegedly Commit Suicide During Visiting Hours – ASEAN Plus


The Lumajang Police have reported that a prisoner and his wife allegedly committed suicide during visiting hours at the Lumajang Penitentiary Class II-B in East Java on Friday.

The Lumajang Police’s criminal investigation unit head, AKP Hasran, said the prisoner, 30, and his wife, 18, died after drinking the same beverage.

“The wife and the prisoner’s mother brought him a meal that had been checked by penitentiary officers,” Hasran said on Friday.

He explained that, according to information gathered, the prisoner asked for plastic cups from the canteen officer. He then poured the beverage into the plastic cups for himself and his wife.

“After a while, as they were hugging each other, they both laid down and experienced shortness of breath,” he said.

The penitentiary officers and several prisoners brought them to the polyclinic but they died shortly afterwards, Hasran added.

The police took the bottle and the plastic cups used by the victims to the East Java Police forensic laboratory in Surabaya for examination.

The police have also requested Lumajang Hospital to perform an autopsy on the bodies. – The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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Asbestos, Other Chemical Toxins Found In Five Back-to-School Items Sold at Dollar Tree, Other Retailers – Ross Torgerson


Five back-to-school items have tested positive for toxic chemicals – including asbestos – according to a release from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Those items include Playskool crayons (36 count), Brace Brands children’s Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, GSI Outdoors Kids’ insulated water bottles, Jot brand blue 3-ring binder and The Board Dudes brand markers.


According to the release, trace amounts of asbestos were found in green-colored Playskool crayons sold at Dollar Tree. Asbestos, which can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, has recently been found in other children’s products such as makeup. Of the six different types of crayons tested, Playskool crayons was the only brand that tested positive for toxic chemicals. Crayola, Up & Up, Cra-Z-Art, Disney Junior Mickey and the Roadster Racers and Roseart crayons all tested negative for toxic chemicals.

Two recently-recalled water bottles also tested positive for toxic chemicals, research shows. Both the Base Brands children’s Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends and the GSI Outdoors children’s water bottles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to high levels of lead. The Base Brands water bottle can be found primarily at Costco and on Amazon, while the GSI Outdoors water bottle is sold mainly at L.L. Bean. Lead has been known to cause severe developmental and behavioral problems.

Phthalates, which has been linked to causing birth defects, hyperactivity and reproductive problems, was found in the Jot brand blue 3-ring binder sold at Dollar Tree. According to the CPSC, the levels of phthalates found in the binder is considered unsafe for children.

Lastly, benzene, a carcinogen linked to leukemia and disruptions in sexual reproduction and liver, kidney and immune system function, was found in The Board Dudes brand markers sold on

According to the U.S. PIRG, it is legal to have asbestos in crayons, however, scientists and government agencies say that it is unnecessary to expose children to asbestos. In the release, the research group urges any manufacturers that sell crayons that contain asbestos should issue a voluntary recall and reformulate the ingredients.

“Based on our testing, we know that most manufacturers make safe school supplies,” said Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG education fund toxics director. “We’re calling on the makers of unsafe products to get rid of toxic chemicals and protect American schoolchildren.”

Since it is often legal to sell products that contain toxic chemicals, the U.S. PIRG said that parents who buy glue, markers, pencils, rulers and crayons should look for the Art and Creative Materials Institute label, which lets consumers know that the product is non-toxic for children.

For products like water bottles and lunch boxes where there is no label offered, look for a manufacturer’s “children’s product certificate” on the product. That label assures consumers that the product has been tested in a third-party laboratory under specifications set by the CPSC.




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Why Everyone Should Watch Less News – Ryan Holiday


According to a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association, 95% of American adults follow the news regularly, even though more than half of them say it causes them stress and over two-thirds say they believe the media blows things out of proportion. In contextualizing the survey’s findings, the APA’s chief executive officer, Arthur C. Evans Jr, said, “Understanding that we all still need to be informed about the news, it’s time to make it a priority to be thoughtful about how often and what type of media we consume.”


Perhaps it’s time we realize that consuming more news about the world around us is not the way to improve it (or ourselves), personally or politically. Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations, “Are you distracted by breaking news? Then take some leisure time to learn something good, and stop bouncing around.”

Our modern notion of leisure has perverted the ancient definition of the word. For the Greeks and Romans, it meant pursuing and engaging with higher things, making space for the contemplation of bigger ideas.

To follow Marcus’ example then, I say: Watch less news. Read more books.

Of course, being informed is important. But is tracking the “specious present,” as the sociologist Robert E. Park once termed the news, really the best way to do that?

Novels. Non-fiction. Memoirs. Biographies. Self-Help and the Classics. Just about anything bound between two covers will teach you something more than the latest headlines — and will do far more in regards to settling your soul.

This is not just the biased opinion of an author and former news junkie. The comparison between the health benefits of reading books and the ill effects of consuming the news is stark.

While research has shown that visually shocking and upsetting news can contribute to anxiety, sleeping trouble, raise cortisol levels and even trigger PTSD symptoms, a University of Sussex study found that just six minutes reading a book can reduce stress levels up to 68%. A study done by former journalist turned positive psychology researcher Michelle Geilan found that watching just a few minutes of negative news in the morning increases the chances of viewers reporting having had a bad day by 27%, while Barnes and Noble just reported soaring sales for books that help people deal with anxiety and find happiness. Life Time Fitness, a gym chain with locations in 27 states, recently decided that tuning their TVs to FOX News and CNN was antithetical to their mission of making people healthier, so they’ve banned the news from the gym.

Sadly, less than three quarters of Americans report having read a book in the last twelve months, while the average American consumes 6.5 hours of television news per week. Some leisure.

Books that delve deeply into the past manage to capture the essence of what is happening right now better than any other medium.

Books, both in terms of the length of the final product and the length of the process that goes into creating them, have an opportunity to explore topics at much greater depth than a newspaper article or a cable news segment. While news of current events is often rendered irrelevant by subsequent current events, books can endure for centuries or millennia. Often, in fact, books that delve deeply into the past manage to capture the essence of what is happening right now better than any other medium.

A reader of Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage would find that between 1971 and 1972, there were some 2500 politically motivated bombings in the United States. In the pages of Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War, they’d find an eerily modern jockeying between an ascendant power and a dominant power and the mistakes made by both. Reading Robert Kennedy’s Thirteen Days, his first-hand account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, would reveal the life and death calculations of nuclear powers, each looking to save face and neither looking to actually blow up the world. In Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, a reader might relate to the rather ageless angst of the next generation trying to find its meaning and purpose in the world.

In Anne Frank’s diary we hear of the timeless plight of the refugee, we are reminded of the humanity of every individual (and how societies lose sight of this) and we are inspired — even shamed — to see the cheerful perseverance of a child amidst far worse circumstances than ours.

In Stefan Zweig’s biography of Montaigne we get the unique perspective of a man turning away from the chaos of the world to examine the life of a man who turned inward, away from the chaos of the world some 400 years earlier.

In each of these books — none of which are new releases or about new events — we learn something about history, something about the human condition, and, it goes without saying, something about the present moment too. We could say that while breaking news is usually about lowercase t truth — what happened, who did it, who said it — the great books are about capital T Truth — why it happened, what it means, what it says about us.

Part of this has to do with the economics of each medium. News, as a business, has low margins and requires high volume (big viewership, lots of articles) to make up for it. This is why stories are always developing and rarely conclusive, and why the audience is always being prompted to stick with it through the commercial break or click the link to the new story.

Books, even in a world of Amazon dominance and publishing dinosaurs, are not only more profitable for their creators at smaller scale, but authors and readers have a more honest and straightforward exchange of value. I write, you pay. If I don’t deliver, you won’t buy from me again, bookstores will stop carrying my work, and my work will die. If my work does not endure — does not make the transition from a frontlist title to a backlist title that maintains relevance — it’s unlikely I will see much in the way of royalties in return for the years I spent writing.

This obligation is undoubtedly why books suffer less from clickbait or sensationalism than your average media outlet is forced to dabble in to keep the lights on. Even if the Trump presidency has been good to some authors, no publisher would dare say as CBS CEO Leslie Moonves did of our toxic political environment, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Because the classic titles always outsell new releases.

Where news hardens or angers us, a book properly written and read can, in Kafka’s words, break the frozen sea within us.

There is also something to the way books are consumed, often in physical form in a quiet place away from the noise of the world. We flip through a newspaper, we pore over the pages of a good book. We forward articles or videos that provoke us, we press life changing books in the hands of our friends as meaningful gifts.

Where news hardens or angers us, a book properly written and read can, in Kafka’s words, break the frozen sea within us. It can make us feel. It can make us truly understand. Although the studies have not been replicated, it makes sense that novels might increase empathy as a study by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano found. They force us to really see something from someone else’s perspective, to live with a character or an idea for far longer than a tweet or a talking head can ever capture.

While there is plenty to be outraged about in our current world, we should not forget part of this is related to the fact that anger and outrage are the most viral emotions. Should it surprise us then that the news in an attention economy provokes these emotions more than any others?

In 55 B.C., after returning from exile and being forced to withdraw for a time from political life, Cicero wrote of “feasting” on the library of Faustus Sulla near his villa in Cumae. That famed library was no less than Aristotle’s, part of the war booty of Faustus’ father’s sack of Athens. Cicero’s leisure time produced a flood of writing over a 12 year period that included almost all of his surviving works — many of which are shockingly relevant to anyone trying to make sense of today’s complicated world.

The way to solve big problems is to get bigger perspectives, to get away from being reactive or the hopelessness of despair. We need the insights and the empathy and restorative benefits of books more than ever. We need them to awaken within us our shared humanity and the timelessness of the struggle of good against evil. (If you want book recommendations, try this list)

Most of all we need the relief and solace they provide. As Thomas Kempis said, in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro. Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it, except in a corner with a book.

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Fake News – Resources for Learners and Educators | CristinaSkyBox | Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path

Digital literacies, Visual literacies, Social Media literacies.The skills and demands of today’s literacies change and so should educational practices by meeting learners in the world in which they live in.   Here are some resources for helping students understand the issue of fake news.

Source: Fake News – Resources for Learners and Educators | CristinaSkyBox | Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path



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The Problem with “Great Schools”

by Ali McKay If you have young kids or use Redfin, you’ve probably seen the school ratings from GreatSchools. Our school is rated a “4”. That’s out of 10. When I was in school, forty percent is not a grade that I or my parents would have been happy with. In fact, there would have […]

via The Problem with “Great Schools” —

A Hiker Has Died After Falling From Yosemite’s Half Dome

(YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.) — A hiker in Yosemite National Park fell to his death while climbing the iconic granite cliffs of Half Dome in rainy conditions, authorities said Tuesday.

The National Park Service said the accident occurred Monday at about 4:30 p.m. in the Northern California national park. The hiker’s body was recovered Tuesday afternoon.

NPS spokeswoman Jamie Richards said the man and a companion were scaling the steepest part of the trail where rangers recently installed cables to help hikers to climb the steepest part of the 4,800-foot (1,463-meter) ascent.

Richards said the companion was helped from the trail and was unharmed.

The cables are installed each summer to assist the thousands of hikers who make the popular 14-mile (23-kilometer) round trip. Richards said hikers can clip safety harnesses to the cables, but the vast majority don’t.

Richards said investigators are still trying to determine how the fall occurred. She said it’s unclear if the hikers were climbing in the rain, but that the well-worn trail over smooth rock was wet.

The NPS declined to release the man’s name pending notification of his family. The NPS said it’s the first fatal fall from Half Dome since 2010.

NPS requires hikers to obtain permits to hike the popular trail to avoid overcrowding during the peak summer season.