Editors' pickPolitics

Melania Trump basically copies cybersafety guide from Obama, adds her picture

First Lady Melania Trump embraced a rare solo moment in the spotlight Monday when she unveiled a new initiative called “Be Best.” The White House says the campaign’s aim is to help “children manage the many issues they are facing today… encouraging positive social, emotional and physical habits.”

The initiative has three different components: well-being, opioid abuse, and social media use. Cyberbullying is an issue the first lady has campaigned on in the past — despite the irony of doing so while her husband attacks people on Twitter.

“When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change,” she said at the launch ceremony. “I do believe that children should be both seen and heard.”

As part of the initiative, the White House released an cybersafety booklet for parents, titled “Talking with Kids About Being Online.” There’s just one problem though. The guide looks almost identical to one released under the Obama administration by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids about Being Online.”

The newest guide has only made minor changes from the 2014-era one. The branding and design has been changed slightly (from Android phones in the Obama-era guide to iPhones in the latest one).

One section on “Making computer security a habit” was updated for the new guide. It now recommends multi-factor authentication, explains how to create secure passwords, and has a section about keeping your web browser up to date. The new guide also has an added forward from the first lady.

Apart from these minor changes, however, the new guide is a near-carbon copy of the Obama-era version.

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The only differences appear to be these two pages, titled “What can you do?”

First lady’s guide rewords the FTC section on “encourag[ing] kids to speak up” pic.twitter.com/oqCwiOS7On

— Melanie Schmitz (@MelsLien) May 7, 2018

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Looks like first lady’s office also added a few things on this page, re: “Making computer security a habit”, namely using multi-factor authentication, shortening the section about keeping your “operating system and web browser up-to-date”, and explaining password creation: pic.twitter.com/FB9v5pprP3

— Melanie Schmitz (@MelsLien) May 7, 2018

This isn’t the first time Melania Trump has faced accusations of ripping off the Obamas: In her July 2016 speech to the Republican National Convention, she was accused of plagiarizing parts of Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Meanwhile, while his wife was advocating the importance of looking after children Monday, President Donald Trump reportedly sent a plan to Congress that calls for stripping $15 billion from the budget — with nearly half of the cuts coming out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides healthcare to lower-income children and is seen as an essential tool in helping children who would otherwise be unable to visit a doctor for routine services like checkups and immunizations.


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