By Tony Romm, (c) 2018, The Washington Post

First lady Melania Trump plans to convene tech giants including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snap next week to discuss ways to combat online harassment and promote Internet safety, according to four people familiar with her efforts.

The meeting at the White House, slated for March 20, marks the first major policy push in the first lady’s long-ago announced campaign to combat cyberbullying. At the gathering, Trump plans to ask top policy executives from tech giants to detail how they’ve sought to address digital ills plaguing web users such as the rise of online trolls and the spread of malicious content, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss her efforts on the record.

But the people said they don’t expect the first lady to unveil any specific policy proposals to combat cyberbullying – a phrase her team has sought to avoid, instead opting to focus on the need for kindness online.

A spokeswoman for the first lady did not respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

In recent months, companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have faced criticism for allowing the spread of hate, harassment, conspiracy theories and other toxic content on their platforms. After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, for example, videos attacking the victims proliferated wildly on YouTube, aided by algorithms that surface similar videos on a loop.

Others fault President Donald Trump for contributing to the lack of civility online, particularly through his tweets attacking opponents. Some of his most popular tweets in 2017 – garnering hundreds of thousands of replies, likes or retweets among his roughly 49 million followers – involved rhetorical broadsides aimed at North Korea and CNN.

For her part, Melania Trump first pledged to highlight and fight cyberbullying in November 2016, days before her husband won the White House. At the time, she lamented the fact that “our culture has gotten too mean and too rough especially to children and to teenagers.”

Following the inauguration, however, the first lady addressed cyberbullying only in a few public settings. That includes a high-profile address at the United Nations in September 2017, where she emphasized the need to “teach each child the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of kindness, mindfulness, integrity, and leadership, which can only be taught by example.”

More recently, Trump appeared to be telegraphing a policy push …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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Melania Trump will meet with tech giants to talk cyberbullying

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