Melania Trump intends to ramp up her efforts to address cyberbullying, and she’s planning to meet with executives from Facebook and other platforms to talk about the need for “positive online interactions,” Yahoo News is reporting. However, the first lady’s cyberbullying initiative does not actually intend to make use of the word “cyberbullying.”
It’s been a trend these past few generations for first ladies to take on a cause of importance to them that is outside of their husbands’ own legislative agenda. Michelle Obama, for example, championed children’s fitness and healthy school lunches, while Laura Bush championed children’s literacy.
Melania, for her part, has been less active in promoting her cause, taking the better part of a year for it to even take shape. That’s largely because Melania has chosen to take on a more quiet and behind-the-scenes role, compared to her predecessors, and focus on being a mother to 11-year-old Barron.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday, the Washington Post announced that Melania planned to meet with movers and shakers in the tech industry to move forward with her efforts. The tentative meeting will take place at the White House on March 20 and will be attended by representatives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snap, among others.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 13, 2018
However, according to Gizmodo, the first lady doesn’t intend to announce or push forward any policy initiatives. Rather, it’s simply slated to be an informational meeting where the participants simply discuss what’s being done.
Gizmodo writer Tom McKay points out that, for now anyway, what tech companies generally do to combat cyberbullying doesn’t really amount to much.
“[Melania] is going to invite representatives from companies well known for mostly ineffectively flailing their arms when confronted with the problem of violent or hateful user-generated content to the White House to deploy their best maxims about how everything is changing.”
In fact, according to Yahoo News, Melania doesn’t even intend to use the word “cyberbullying.” Instead, according to her spokesperson, she “simply asked for a meeting to discuss one of the many things that impacts children.”
That Melania Trump would focus on cyberbullying and positive online interactions has struck some observers as rather disingenuous. Her own family members — in particular, husband Donald Trump — have been known to use social media in a way that could be seen as bullying. The president has, for example, used Twitter to call a New York Times reporter a “Hillary Flunky,” and he even fired a member of his administration (Rex Tillerson) over Twitter. Similarly, Melania’s stepson Donald Trump Jr. has liked tweets that suggest Parkland survivor David Hogg is part of a conspiracy.