The White House’s anti-cyberbullying campaign copied an old FTC pamphlet

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Even the covers are almost identical.

First lady Melania Trump has launched a new anti-cyberbullying campaign called “Be Best,” and the White House has released a pamphlet to go with it — one that’s not quite as new. As BuzzFeed News has pointed out, the campaign’s “Talking with Kids About Being Online” brochure copies an Obama-era FTC document for its “Net Cetera” program back in 2014. If you look at the documents side by side, the covers are almost identical, with slight changes to the smartphone graphics to make them look less like a Samsung Galaxy S3 and more like an iPhone X.

More importantly, their contents are almost the same. The first lady’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham told BuzzFeed News that the materials were “updated and edited to reflect today’s event” and they “were happy to be able to provide the children in attendance with such a resource.” But upon checking, it’s clear that the new pamphlet lifted most of the older one’s contents word for word. Even the parts that aren’t exactly the same look merely shuffled around and paraphrased — imagine a student copying parts of Wikipedia and mixing things up a bit in hopes of getting past a plagiarism checker.

When the first lady announced Be Best, she thanked Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Snap and Twitter for supporting the platform. It’s still unclear how they’re contributing to it, but we’re hoping their involvement means Be Best has more to offer other than a copied brochure.

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