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Chaplain’s Facebook post denigrating transgender troops under investigation by Army

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Officials from the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, are investigating a Facebook post by a unit chaplain denigrating transgender troops.

The post was made Monday, on a story mentioning Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s support for President Joe Biden ending a service ban on transgender people.

“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Andrew Calvert posted on the Army Times Facebook page Monday. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

— Naveed 🇺🇸 (@ArmyofNaveed) January 26, 2021

“The motivation is different,” Calvert continued, “but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”

In an email to Military Times, officials from the 3rd SFAB confirmed that Calvert is an active-duty major and a unit chaplain.

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“We are aware of Maj. Calvert’s social media post on the Army Times Facebook page,” Army Maj. Jefferson T. Grimes, a 3rd SFAB spokesman, told Military Times in an email. “The matter is currently under investigation. We support the commander in chief, secretary of defense and all DoD policies and directives.

“We direct our soldiers to ‘Think, Type, Post’ when engaging in conversations on social media platforms and to follow DoD policies and regulations,” said Grimes. “When our online conduct does not follow these rules and regulations, we investigate and hold individuals accountable if they are found to be in violation.”

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Calvert, through the command, declined comment.

On a personal website, Calvert — who calls himself “Chap Calvert” — talks about the importance of ensuring “that each Service Member is afforded the right to practice his/her faith in accordance with the First Amendment of the US Constitution.”

Calvert, 41, has been in the Army since 2009 and has earned the Bronze Star among other awards and commendations, according to the 3rd SFAB.

On Monday, Biden signed an executive order ending a ban on transgender troops being able to serve.

It requires both the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the Coast Guard, to remove gender identity as a bar to service.

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“The all-volunteer force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security,” according to a release from the White House.

The move puts to bed a controversy that began in July 2017, when then-President Donald Trump tweeted that “after consultation with my generals and military experts” he would no longer allow transgender Americans to serve in the military.

That announcement, which took nearly two years to put into policy, came little more than a year after then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter officially lifted the Defense Department’s long-standing ban on transgender service members. Following Carter’s move, the services implemented policy that allowed currently serving troops to undergo transitions to their preferred gender and be recognized as such in DoD personnel systems.

Austin stated his support for Biden’s move and ordered the military to “immediately take appropriate policy action to ensure individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to enter and serve in their self-identified gender.”

These changes “will ensure no one will be separated or discharged, or denied reenlistment, solely on the basis of gender identity,” Austin said. “Prospective recruits may serve in their self-identified gender when they have met the appropriate standards for accession into the military services.”

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The revised policy, he said, “will also ensure all medically-necessary transition related care authorized by law is available to all service members and will re-examine all cases of transgender service members that may be in some form of adverse administrative proceedings.”

Austin said that “in the next 60 days, I look forward to working with the senior civilian and military leaders of the department as we expeditiously develop the appropriate policies and procedures to implement these changes.

“The United States armed forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens. I also believe we should avail ourselves of the best possible talent in our population, regardless of gender identity. We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and the devotion to serve in uniform.”

A service member’s gender orientation is “none of” Calvert’s business, retired Navy SEAL Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Kristin Beck told Military Times.

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Beck, whose 21-year career included a stint with SEAL Team 6, a Bronze Star with V-Device and a Purple Heart, said she began living her “true life” as a woman after leaving the service in 2011.

“Chaplains should support all troops and their belief systems, said Beck, 54. “And if they don’t, they are constitutionally in conflict.”

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Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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