White House seeks Silicon Valley help battling coronavirus

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios convened the companies on the conference call that also included officials from Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and five other federal agencies.

“Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort,” Kratsios said in a statement following the call. “Today’s meeting outlined an initial path forward and we intend to continue this important conversation.”

The tech industry has been taking steps in recent weeks to deal with the outbreak, such as highlighting reliable sources for information on the virus and removing misinformation. Amazon has also tried to stop sellers from drastically raising prices on health care goods amid accusations of price gouging.

The White House pushed the companies to coordinate their efforts to remove harmful content, which could help the firms identify and pull down misinformation more quickly. The industry has taken a similar approach to remove digital content that promotes terrorism.

The Trump administration also implored the companies to use their technical expertise to help those grappling with the fallout from the coronavirus. The White House plans to release a database of research related to the coronavirus and asked tech companies to help medical researchers analyze it for insights using artificial intelligence.