Melania Trump comes under heavy criticism over her new mission
WASHINGTON - Melania Trump pushed back against critics, declaring her commitment to combating cyberbullying despite the hits she has endured for taking on the issue while her husband routinely goes on Twitter to berate foes and call them names.
"I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic," the first lady said.
"I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue, and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know is right. I am here with one goal: helping children and our next generation."
Mrs Trump commented on Tuesday as she convened executives from major online and social media companies at the White House to discuss cyberbullying and internet safety.
The meeting came more than a year after she announced that cyberbullying would be her cause if Trump were elected president.
The choice was immediately assailed. On Tuesday, a defiant sounding Mrs Trump said she's not backing down.
The first lady said she gets many letters from children who have been bullied or who feel threatened on social media.
She told the executives "I believe together we can make a real difference in encouraging positive behaviors on social media." Amazon, Snap, Facebook, Google, Twitter and
Microsoft sent representatives, as did the Internet Association and the Family Online Safety Institute.
"She really wanted to know how we can best educate parents so that they can use the tools that companies provide to keep kids safe online," said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the
Family Online Safety Institute, told The Associated Press following the hour-long meeting.
"She is most concerned about anonymity online and thinks that it's a disinhibitor to the ways in which people behave." Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet
Association, said in a written statement that the meeting gave the industry a chance to highlight investments in policies, controls, resources and programs "that help promote a positive and safe online experience for people of all ages."