The White House on Wednesday asked tech companies to help fight coronavirus disinformation while also helping the government with its response to the growing outbreak, reports Politico.
The Trump Administration asked Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and IBM for help in a meeting that saw representatives from each of the companies speaking with White House officials and representatives from government agencies that include Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Labor Department, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, and others.
Coordination efforts and information sharing were key topics during the meeting, with the White House urging tech companies to work together to remove harmful content. Companies have also been asked to use their “technical expertise” to help those “grappling with the fallout from the coronavirus,” and to provide the government with any data that can help manage the spread of the virus.
The White House is working to release a database of research related to the coronavirus and wants tech companies to help medical researchers analyze it for insights with AI techniques.
“Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, who convened he conference call, said in a statement afterward. “Today’s meeting outlined an initial path forward and we intend to continue this important conversation.”
In the United States, the coronavirus outbreak has led to the closure of schools, concerts, sporting events, and more, and today, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.
Tech companies have already been working to combat false information about the coronavirus. Facebook and Twitter have disallowed coronavirus related ads, and Amazon has banned marked up health products like hand sanitizer and masks along with preventing companies from selling items related to the coronavirus.
Apple and other tech companies are also having most of their employees work from home for the foreseeable future to cut down on the spread of the virus, and Apple is providing unlimited sick leave to hourly employees become sick with COVID-19.
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