White House to meet with top tech companies about coronavirus response


The White House is set to meet with the country’s top tech companies on Wednesday to discuss coordinating a coherent response to the new coronavirus, as social media platforms scramble to rein in an escalating wave of online misinformation about the illness. 

A spokeswoman with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy confirmed to The Hill that White House officials, including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, are set to meet with tech industry representatives and federal agencies to “to discuss ways to coordinate on COVID19 response efforts” on Wednesday. 

The office expects Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter to participate, the spokeswoman confirmed. The companies did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on Tuesday night. 

Many of the participants are expected to participate via teleconference. 

As the coronavirus spreads in the U.S. and around the world, users have taken to social media to spread conspiracy theories, boost fraudulent “treatments” for the mysterious disease, and make money by drastically raising prices for products like Clorox wipes and face masks.

The platforms have each instituted new and rapidly-evolving policies to combat the scourge of misinformation and fight against the price gouging on e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have poured resources into fighting coronavirus-related misinformation and boosting authoritative facts from trusted public health institutions like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). The tech companies have been coordinating directly with the health institutions to fight the scouge, which the WHO referred to as an “infodemic.” 

Representatives from the country’s largest banks are also set to visit the White House on Wednesday to discuss the market’s response to the coronavirus. 

Brett Samuels contributed to this report.


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