- Representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter will attend a White House meeting on Wednesday to discuss their response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Politico reports.
- The representatives will attend either in person or via video conference.
- Silicon Valley has already been forced to reckon with the outbreak, with some companies telling their employees to work from home.
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The Silicon Valley giants will be attending a meeting at the White House today to discuss their response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Politico reports.
A representative for the Office of Science and Technology Policy told Politico that representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter will attend either in person or by video conference, and the meeting will be led by Trump’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios.
It’s not clear from Politico’s report exactly what will be up for discussion, but the tech companies have already had to react to the outbreak. Misinformation about the virus has erupted online: in one instance the French government stepped in to counter a fake claim circulating online that cocaine cures the virus. Other fake cures include marijuana, coconut oil, and bleach. Amazon has also announced it’s working with state Attorneys General to fight a surge in price-gouging on its platform after third-party sellers started jacking up the prices of items like face masks and hand sanitizer.
The companies have had to react to the virus on the home front as well. Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook have all asked their employees to work from home rather than come into their Seattle and Silicon Valley offices. In Amazon and Facebook’s case this was after workers at their Seattle offices tested positive for the virus. Amazon has also taken the extraordinary step of announcing it won’t penalize its warehouse workers for taking unpaid time off during the month of March.
Microsoft has also told employees they can work in home, and has had two confirmed cases of the virus in its staff.
For Apple the virus poses a different threat, as the outbreak has put a huge dent in both its supply chain and consumer behavior. Stats issued by the Chinese government this week showed the phone giant sold just 500,000 iPhones in China last month, less than half of its usual figure.
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