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Melania Trump invites tech giants to a meeting on cyberbullying

The first lady wants to get a dialogue going despite the president's affinity for lobbying insults on social media
by Alyssa Newcomb /
Image: Melania Trump visits Cincinnati Children's Hospital
First Lady Melania Trump is seen at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital on Feb. 5, 2018.John Sommers II / Reuters

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Melania Trump wants to bring social media giants together at the White House next week to discuss online harassment, despite her husband's own affinity for lobbing insults on social media.

Her invitation to a handful of major tech companies is her biggest step yet toward addressing cyberbullying, a key issue of her platform before becoming first lady, but one the public has heard little about until recently.

"Mrs. Trump has simply asked for a meeting to discuss one of the many things that impacts children — as she has done many times in the past, on several different topics," Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman, told NBC News in an email.

The meeting, which was first reported by The Washington Post, is set for Tuesday. However, Grisham did not immediately respond to a follow-up question regarding the goals of the meeting and whether any of the tech giants, presumably Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snap, had committed to attend.

Two sources familiar with the situation who were not permitted to speak publicly confirmed that invitations had been sent for a meeting next week.

Sources who spoke with the Post said Mrs. Trump plans to ask the tech companies about what efforts they're making to tackle online trolls, bots and other malicious content. They added that they don't expect her to be involved in drafting any potential policy proposals.

Of course, the meeting — if it happens — has the potential to draw attention to calls for Mrs. Trump to end cyberbullying in her own home, starting with getting the president to tone down his tweets.

During a lunch with spouses of governors visiting the White House last month, the first lady called on everyone to practice "positive habits with social media and technology."

“As I have said before, it is important that, as adults, we take the lead and the responsibility in helping our children manage the many issues they are facing today,” she said. “This means encouraging positive habits with social media and technology, even limiting time online and understanding the content they are exposed to on a daily basis.”

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