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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Mark Zuckerberg Breaks His Silence; Zuckerberg: Facebook "Made Mistake" In Cambridge Analytica Situation; Petition Calls For Facebook Privacy Safeguards; Trump Furious Over Leak About Putin Call; Trump Versus Porn Star, Playmate, Reality Star. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired March 21, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for being with us.
Tonight, breaking news, just before we came on air, the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence five days after a data scandal
engulfed his company. Zuckerberg is set to speak with our own Laurie Segall in an interview to be broadcast at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. It will be
late in the evening here in Europe.
But in a post, the Facebook boss pledged to take a series of steps to protect user data and said he is ultimately responsible for whatever
happens on the platform. No apology per se, but certainly promising to change things at Facebook.
After news, of course, broke this weekend that Cambridge Analytica reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users
without their knowledge. Billions were knocked off Facebook's share price and new investigations have been launched both here in the U.K. and in the
Let's bring in our business and technology correspondent, Samuel Burke, he's in Miami, and money senior correspondent, Brian Stelter in New York.
Brian, let's start with you. We're also hearing from Sherly Sandburg, by the way, a top Facebook executive.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And she's going a little bit further than Zuckerberg. The COO, Sheryl Sandburg, saying she deeply
regrets what has happened here in this lengthy statement from Zuckerberg, he does outline a number of steps he says the company will take.
Let's (inaudible) through them real quick. He's going to go through and have his engineers look at all of the developers that have access to
Facebook back in 2014 when this actual breach happened.
They are going to look at what these developers were doing with large amounts of Facebook data. Make sure it wasn't misuse and Facebook says it
will ban any of those third-party developers that might exploiting Facebook data.
The company is also going to tighten up its rules on the current use of Facebook data. You know, it's trying to signal to users that you can trust
Facebook. That it's not going to misuse your personal information.
But I would say this is only a first step. If you look at this statement, there are a lot more questions still here. I think it's a good sign he's
going to sit down with our colleague, Laurie Segall, and talk more about this.
But the bottom line here is he is trying to defend Facebook and rationalize Facebook and we'll see how the users react to it.
GORANI: Yes. I can't wait to see Laurie's interview. It will be very interesting to hear him say this on camera rather than in a Facebook
statement. Thanks very much, Brian Stelter.
Samuel Burke, to you in Miami. I found interesting in the statement that Mark Zuckerberg admits in 2015 we learned from journalists that Alex Coogan
who is the professor at Cambridge had shared data from this app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share
data without people's consent.
So, we immediately banned Coogan's app from our platform and demanded that Coogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all
of this improperly acquired data.
Here's the thing, though, they only asked for a promise. They didn't really check and they learned last week that they had not necessarily
deleted the data that Facebook had asked them to erase from their servers.
So, Zuckerberg is admitting that this was used improperly and that they didn't really didn't check to make sure that this information was erased.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Hala, there is some falling on the sword here, but exactly what you're pointing out, 2015,
we're talking about nearly three years ago they knew about this. So, when Brian is laying out there that Zuckerberg is saying we are going to go back
and look at all the apps.
[16:05:02] But they've already been doing this. They already knew about this situation in 2015. So essentially, some of what Zuckerberg is saying
is we're going go back and do exactly what we already did.
If they knew in 2015, which obviously they did. He now admits it in his Facebook statement why didn't they notify users. Why didn't they take more
serious steps? So, there are a lot of gaps here as we look at this statement.
I just want to put up I think what is the key line from this Facebook post from Mark Zuckerberg, he said this, quote, "We have a responsibility to
protect your data and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you."
But, clearly, they haven't been able to protect all the data. Just going and saying to this professor and Cambridge Analytica, well, make sure you
delete it clearly wasn't enough. And just to add to that, I want to use the words of Sheryl Sandberg saying, "We know that this was a major
violation of people's trust and I deeply regret that we didn't do enough to deal with it."
The stock price for Facebook up a little bit today about 1 percent. Trading is close now. It's going up a little more on this statement. But
they are somewhat are saying we're going to do what we already did before.
GORANI: He's asking quite a lot from users here after this scandal, Samuel, because he ends his statement, Mark Zuckerberg, by saying, "I want
to thank all of you who continue to believe in our mission and work to build this community together. I know it takes longer to fix all these
issues than we'd like, but I promise you we'll work through this and build a better service over the long term."
He's asking for people to be patient and to trust Facebook. Even though trust may be broken right now.
BURKE: We will do better, and boy, do we hear that over and over again from these tech companies, from Facebook. We have seen so many situations
this year and last year where the bottom line was we'll do better, and we have to keep on waiting whether it's dealing with terrorist videos, whether
it's dealing with foreign entities using the Facebook platform.
At the end of the day, the real question here for investors and maybe the larger question is will people delete this app as the hashtag is going on
Twitter, delete Facebook. Will they use it less because the trust has been broken.
And I want to just emphasize, I mean, that I think is the most important here. Facebook makes most of its money by selling ads. They don't give
your information to those advertisers as best we know, and I don't think they do.
We've never heard that from advertisers, but they gave our information to somebody who is doing a Facebook personality quiz. Why risk all of that
data with our data, their stock price for something that really doesn't make them that much money. Really an unforced error if you think about it.
GORANI: But there's another question here that for me just absolutely jumps out after reading this statement. Mark Zuckerberg admits that
Facebook knew in 2015 this app was harvesting data from unsuspecting users. They asked Cambridge Analytica to delete all the data. They now know they
didn't delete it.
They suspended Cambridge Analytica from their platform only after learning from journalists that the company hadn't deleted the data. Why not suspend
Cambridge Analytica in 2015 when you knew what they've done?
BURKE: Exactly. They didn't really just learn this from journalists recently. They knew about this back in 2015 and didn't suspend Cambridge
Analytica then. Also, some of the other steps that they are talking about taking, Hala, one that really jumped out to me was this third step that
they were laying out.
They are going to have a new tool that they will have on the platform right at the top of the feed they say so that you can see all the apps. This
tool was actually already existed. It just been tucked away for ages.
You and I have been talking today and I've been showing you how to get to some of this. Why was it tucked away so deep and how come so often when
Facebook launches these tools it's only available on desktop.
They are telling their advertisers we're all about mobile, but when they launch one of these products, it's only on desktop where fewer people can
see it. I hope, I suspect this one will be available on mobile as well, so the 2 billion users will have better access to it.
GORANI: All right. So, we're getting a lot of promises here from Mark Zuckerberg. I'd like you to stay with us as we continue to cover this
breaking news, Samuel Burke.
And I want to go to Mitchell Baker, she's the executive chairwoman of Mozilla. Even as Zuckerberg is breaking his silence, this crisis for
Facebook is showing no sign of dying down. Mitchell Baker, thanks for being with us. Mozilla has launched a petition to try to pressure Facebook
into making the app more private. What is this petition about?
MITCHELL BAKER, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRWOMAN, MOZILLA: This petition is about the idea, it's not the job of each one of us, every citizen out there to
figure out what is happening at Facebook or what's happening to our data. It's Facebook's job to do a better job in protecting it.
And so, we want to make sure that as citizens, good controls are helpful and new tools are helpful, but the defaults in Facebook and the basic
approach, Facebook needs to be in charge of, you know, that.
[16:10:08] And the approach in many cases seems to be externalizing the issues to individual users and it's got to become more systematic from
GORANI: And what did you make of the statement? Were you able to hear our coverage of the statement that was just posted on Facebook by Mark
Zuckerberg? He's saying we have a responsibility to protect your data or we don't deserve to serve you is how he starts things out and then promises
to take a series of steps to restrict app access to user's data. What did you make of that?
BAKER: I think it's a start. It's a start in a positive direction. There's still some systematic issues. One is the fundamental issue of the
nature of data itself and how is it collected, where it is collected, is there any way that an individual can really opt-out of it. Another is
It's very hard to know what's going on. So. I'm very glad to see Mark's promises, but I would also feel better if we actually understood what was
happening and it was a little more transparent. And we saw over time that the data is the core of their business, but it's our lives and so the sense
of, you know, the asset that they are dealing with deepens.
GORANI: But I mean, is there any other way to make sure that people don't use your data or companies I should say, don't use your data and
essentially deleting the app? There have been calls even from the co- founder of WhatsApp, who became very rich for selling his company to Facebook saying, look, just delete Facebook. Do you agree with that?
BAKER: Well, that certainly helps but, of course, if your friends and family are using Facebook and posting information about you on it, there
will still be plenty of information on you. Also depending on what identities you set up to log in with, you would want to delete the app but
also find some other ways so you're not signing in with Facebook.
And then there's, of course, all the world around you. So, if one wanted to delete the app, you know, some big chunk of your personal data wouldn't
show up there. But there is still a lot of information about you flowing around.
That's why I say it needs to be a systematic approach. It is important for each one of us who cares to do what we can because that's the demonstrate
of interest, but it is not realistic to think that each one of us can protect ourselves if the core system doesn't do that as well.
GORANI: But you complain and you believe that there should be an opt-in to share your data but when I went to your privacy notice, Firefox privacy
notice, it says learn how to opt out of data collection. So, all tech companies do this, right?
BAKER: Wes. Well, not all. People do different things in different settings. So sometimes you would look at what kind of data are you
actually sharing. And, yes, this question of what is opt-in and what is opt-out is going across the industry --
GORANI: How will it change you, your company, I mean, your foundation -- obviously, Mozilla is a wider not for profit but the browser, I mean, the
household name is the Firefox browser.
BAKER: Yes, it is. We collect very little data and we don't -- the little bit that we have we don't allow others to use it. We view ourselves as
your agent. If you have Firefox on your phone or desktop, we view that as you, as your and representing you so we try to make Firefox do what we
think you would want on your behalf.
GORANI: We're putting up, by the way, this petition, tell Facebook this can't happen again. What's the ultimate aim here, to put pressure on
BAKER: There's a few, that would be one. Another one is many times as consumers when we look at the world around us, what could I do? You know,
I don't like that, but what can one single human being do? So to explore and find ways where a single human beings actually can make an impact.
GORANI: Yes. I do wonder, we're at the very, very beginning of a fundamentally new era for the human race where we're all so utterly
interconnected online where privacy has become -- taken on an entirely new meaning because we have so much of our information floating around not just
on Facebook, but what we give corporations, our loyalty cards when we sign up for a mortgage. It's all out there. How do you even begin to control
BAKER: Well, I think, first of all, sort of understanding what's happening and understanding the power of that data. Because the other part of the
Cambridge Analytica story is the use to which they chose to put that data, and that's the belief that they could encourage/manipulate citizens to do -
- to vote in a certain way.
[16:15:07] So that's also under debate how effective was it. But even Facebook has done studies that people -- you can change our mood and
outlook very easily. So, I think to change it first as an understanding, second is tools and opportunities that help people and the third is that
the big platforms do need to take more responsibility.
And I think as we come to understand how powerful that data is, I think the public will, will jump, because in the early phases it is such a luxury to
get all these things online for free.
GORANI: It's not really free, though, I think we're realizing that now.
BAKER: Right. It is free of charge from your pocketbook, but there's a cost to it and I think as we learn that cost is also I am manipulatable.
If you have enough information about me, you can both predict what I'm going to do before I know it and you can influence what I do. I think as
that sinks in then the will and demand will get much deeper.
GORANI: Do you have a Facebook page?
BAKER: I do. I don't actually use it much, but I have one.
GORANI: All right. So, I presume you've gone into the privacy settings and done all you can to keep your information secure. But if Facebook
doesn't make these change that you would like it to make or quickly enough, then would you consider doing the whole deleting Facebook and just, you
know, telling other people they should too or what?
BAKER: I certainly would or will consider it, really currently the information is, there's not much that I post there, I stopped doing that
quite some time ago. Certainly, I would. We at Mozilla are also, you know, pausing our advertising with Facebook as well until we understand
what's happened and what's going to happen next.
GORANI: When did you make the decision to suspend adverting on Facebook platform?
BAKER: Earlier this week.
GORANI: And were you -- was that just a platform where you regularly advertise?
BAKER: We do a bit. We're not a big advertiser and so we're not a big customer of Facebook, but we do because we have consumer products and we
felt, you know, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, we just didn't understand what was happening and it's extremely disturbing. So, Mark and Cheryl are
making statements now. We'll see what comes out of that, but earlier in the week that wasn't the case and we felt like we should really understand
what's going on before we continue to engage.
GORANI: Thanks so much for your time from San Francisco. Mitchell Baker, the executive chairwoman of Mozilla. Samuel Burke is still with me. He's
in Miami. So, we just -- and Samuel, as you know, we got this Facebook statement just seconds before going on the air so I highlighted the
sections that I thought were important.
And we already discussed that Mark Zuckerberg has admitted the company has a responsibility to protect the data of its users and then he is promising
a series of steps. First, we will investigate all apps. Second, we will restrict developers access to your data, and then obviously third, we want
to make sure you understand what apps are doing with your data.
So that's one, two and three. Let's talk a little bit about first one, investigating all apps because if they knew two years ago that Cambridge
Analytica had misused this data, why didn't they investigate all the apps then?
BURKE: This could make some investors very nervous because think about, we've only been talking about just one app that we know had information
that was taken and given to Cambridge Analytica. Now that's a very sexy headline, a very great way to get into this story.
But imagine all the other apps they are using that aren't associated with the Donald Trump campaign and what they've been doing with this
information. We're talking about, I assume, thousands if not tens of thousands of apps.
But, again, the investigation they carried out before clearly didn't do all that much even by their own admission so one wonders what the investigation
is going to be like now and I don't know if your team has had time to bring tweet from Damien Collins. He's an MP for the digital --
I think this is incredibly important, Hala, because it gets to what you're talking about. This is an MP in the U.K. parliament who has been trying to
get information about the possible role Russia might have had in influencing people on social media around the Brexit vote.
Damien Collins is obviously seeing the news that's happening right now and responding this way. Mark Zuckerberg hasn't addressed why Facebook didn't
deal with concerns about the exposure of Facebook user data at the time and the risks now.
Getting to your question there, and this is an MP, who has been trying to work with Facebook now and Twitter for about a year and has had such hard
time getting an answer from these social media companies.
[16:20:13] They say we are going to be transparent. We're going to do our best. Then we watched it back and forth, and it's amazing to see sometimes
on one statement the social media companies say we'll work with them. They don't answer the questions.
Both Facebook and Twitter over and over and over again I've been watching this MP all year as he tries to get some answers to some very simple
questions quite frankly.
GORANI: All right. We'll ask -- we have more guests throughout the show who are going to be talking about this breaking news. One question I have,
and we'll discuss this later, is should there be a paying platform where you pay money, you don't get targeted by any advertisers and that's part of
the contract. I know there are parts of the world where that wouldn't work. Would you want that service, that option?
BURKE: -- Netflix style. I think the problem is that it is just so amazing you look at the revenue and reach of Facebook that a lot of
advertisers want that so desperately that they might even be willing to pay higher premiums. We've seen in the past year how so many digital platforms
had to lay off people because the grip of Facebook over the market.
Facebook and Google, two companies alone control 50 percent of the digital ad space. It's rare to see just two companies control 50 percent of a
GORANI: Because in the traditional economy when you have that much of a monopoly over the last decade governments usually intervene and believe
that there's an antitrust issue. In this particular case, we're at the very beginning of this era of the big tech companies controlling so much of
the market. We'll see if things change there. I have to move on. I could talk about this for the next two hours nonstop.
Samuel, we'll speak to you a little bit later. As we mentioned, Mark Zuckerberg will be sitting down for an exclusive interview on "AC360" in a
few hours. Laurie Segall has secured that interview. That's at 1:00 a.m. in London, 9:00 a.m. in Hongkong only on CNN. Tune in for that and we will
be back with much more.
GORANI: The U.S. president is said to be furious over a major leak that revealed he either missed or simply ignored wordings from his national
security team. According to the "Washington Post," Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on his election victory despite being advised
not to congratulate him.
In fact, his briefing materials reportedly read in all caps, do not congratulate. Chief of Staff John Kelly is also infuriated over the
breach. Officials inside the White House are saying a leak of this nature is a firable offense.
Meanwhile, new legal troubles for the president involving a porn star, a "Playboy" model, and a former reality show contestant.
[16:25:06] Three women are now fighting to tell their stories of alleged sexual affairs and harassment with the current president of the United
Let's bring in our team, White House reporter, Stephen Collinson is in Washington, M.J. Lee joins us from New York. Stephen, I'll start with the
leaks. We've just gotten reaction from the president on Twitter as usual about his phone call with Vladimir Putin. Tell us about that.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. The president really defending himself over the fact that he didn't raise these issues with
Vladimir Putin, the issues of Russia's meddling in the U.S. election and the attack using a nerve agent on the soil of America's closest NATO ally
the United Kingdom.
He basically said that he needs have a good relationship with President Vlimir Putin because Russia can help the U.S. on issues like ISIS, North
Korea, and Syria. He accuses President George W. Bush, who tried to have a good relationship with Putin of not being smart enough to pull it off.
And he said Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, and President Barack Obama didn't have the energy or chemistry to do so. What this
ignores, of course, is the fact that many people in the United States foreign policy establishment believed that President Trump is being, is
having the wool pulled over his eyes really on a host of foreign policy issues by President Putin and question this relationship he has with the
GORANI: But Stephen, not that many people had access to this briefing that advised the president not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his re-
election. It shouldn't be that difficult then to figure out who is leaking this information, right?
COLLINSON: It shouldn't be and there's an investigation going on in the White House, and I think you can understand actually why the president is
so furious about this. This is, if it's not classified information, it's highly sensitive information and yet say six hours after he spoke to Putin
it's on the website of "The Washington Post."
I think that tells you a lot about the discord within the president's foreign policy team and the anger there is in the foreign policy
establishment that he did go ahead and congratulate Putin who is somebody who is accused of assaulting American democracy. I think that's what it
gets down to.
But clearly, it's a sign of, you know, a great disagreement between the president and much of his foreign policy team on the correct approach to
GORANI: M.J. Lee, we talked porn stars for a few days, now we get to talk about "Playboy" models and reality show contestants, three women wanting to
tell their story of their alleged affairs with Trump.
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. And let's first talk a Stormy Daniels, the porn star actually, because there's some big news and
that's that we now have a copy of a polygraph test that she took back in 2011 talking about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.
She was specifically asked questions about whether she had sexual intercourse with Donald Trump and whether she had unprotected sex with
Donald Trump and she answered yes to both and what we now know is that at the time the person who administered this test said that he had no reason
to believe that she was not being truthful.
So, all of this, of course, casting doubt on the White House's insistence and President Trump's insistence that he never had this affair with Stormy
Daniels to begin with. As you said there are a number of other headlines as well about other women other than Stormy Daniels.
The first one is Karen McDougal. She is a former "Playboy" model who says that she had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump and now she has decided to
sue American Media, Inc. This is the company that owns the "National Inquirer."
And what she is alleging is that she was paid $150,000 at that time for her story, but that the publication ultimately decided not to publish her
story. Now she would like the freedom to speak and so this lawsuit is basically to allow her, she hopes, to speak out about her affair with
And finally, and I'll be quick, I know that there's a lot to get through, Summer Zervos is the former star of "The Apprentice," a reality tv show
that made Donald Trump so famous and she is someone who is actually accusing President Trump of past sexual assault.
So, obviously, a very serious issue and serious accusations here and she filed a defamation suit against President Trump and Trump's lawyers tried
to have the case either dismissed or at least get a continuance and what a New York judge ordered yesterday is basically they denied both of these
requests and said the lawsuit will continue. So, a lot here of ongoing headaches for the president involving at least three women and I think the
question that's on everyone's minds constantly is, will there be other stories, will there be other women who come forward with their stories?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right. MJ Lee, thanks very much. I have a feeling we'll be talking porn stars and Playboy models for the
foreseeable future. We appreciate your reporting.
Coming up, as Mark Zuckerberg breaks his silence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. We have a lot more on our breaking news coming up. Stay with
GORANI: Back to our top story. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has finally spoken out on the data scandal that's engulfed his company. Zuckerberg is
due to speak to CNN's Lori Siegel in an interview broadcast on "ANDERSON COOPER'S 360" at 9:00 Eastern Time. It'll be 1:00 a.m. here in London.
In a post on Facebook, obviously, he has pledged to take a serious of steps to protect the data of its users. But investors are now suing the social
media giant and some people are saying it's time to delete the platform all together.
Let's get more from Dylan Byers. He is live in Los Angeles. So before -- it was quite a long statement on Facebook. And we also heard from the COO
Sheryl Sandberg, who was expressing a little bit more regret and apologizing a little bit more than Mark Zuckerberg.
But one of the things he says is that in 2015, the company learned that this app was misusing user data that a professor at Cambridge developed and
that Cambridge Analytica ultimately harvested and used this harvested data, but it only took them two years to suspend Cambridge Analytica from their
website and acknowledge publicly that they knew that this was going on.
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Right. And the question here, if you look at the statement from Mark Zuckerberg and certainly Sheryl
Sandberg, as well, a lot of thought has been put in to how best to address this problem. There's no question looking at all the specific tweaks that
Facebook has come up with to try and fix this issue all the way towards running audits for anyone who has their data to make sure that they're not
violating Facebook policy. There is clearly a well intention effort here to try and fix this problem.
But there's some problems for Facebook. One, is it too little too late? Two, how do users trust Facebook given that they didn't -- like you said,
they didn't address this problem until now, until there were reports in the media that effectively forced Facebook's hand.
And then three, and this is for me, the really big issue with Facebook here. Facebook is in the data harvesting business. This is what they do.
The reason Facebook is such a powerful and wealthy company is because they are able to collect user data, sell user data to third parties and no
matter what restrictions you put on that, and no matter how hard you try to police what those parties do with user data, you're never going able to
completely prevent abuses of that data, you're never going to able to prevent third parties from handing that data over to other people
And so the question right now is with all of this pressure on Facebook, public pressure, regulatory pressure, perhaps both here and where you are
in London. Is it enough? Is there enough of an apology here and enough of a reassurance that Facebook actually cares about user data? I'm not sure
that's the case.
[16:35:25] GORANI: Right. And so Mark Zuckerberg in the statement is promising to put in motion several steps in order to protect user data,
that they will investigate apps that have access to large amounts of information, that they will restrict developers data, access even further,
they're saying. And also thirdly that they want to make sure that users understand what apps are doing with their data which I tried to go into my
privacy settings today. Honestly, I couldn't figure out a few things. I have to Google the steps I needed to take. And then Mark Zuckerberg ends
by saying trust me, essentially. This is going to take a long time but our relationship we'll get through this together.
GORANI: I wonder if that's going to convince users who were skeptical today.
BYERS: No. Look, after the wave of issues that Facebook has had with trust, Mark Zuckerberg is really the last person, I think who can make a
convincing case that you should trust Facebook. You know, again, this scandal is coming on the heels of what we've already seen with Russian
manipulation of the Facebook platform, and political ads during the 2016 campaign, and really what it throws into the spotlight again is the fact
that Facebook does it. They monitor you as you travel around the internet. Even when you are not on Facebook or Facebook on platforms like Instagram,
like WhatsApp. You are actually being monitored by Facebook very often and they are using that data to turn a profit for their own company.
And so when Mark Zuckerberg comes to the American people and says "trust me" after not telling them about Cambridge Analytica for years, after not -
- after having a lot of time so sort of address this problem and not doing so, it's really going to be hard for the American people and I think
potentially all over the world to trust.
GORANI: Sorry, Dylan. I was doing -- Facebook is used a lot outside of United States. Sometimes it is really the only app that people know. It's
how they know the internet, it's through Facebook. In developing countries and in parts of the world where it's much more expensive to communicate in
But Dylan, thanks very much. And we'll stay in close touch as this news continues to break.
Our next guest says that for many, as we were just discussing now, Facebook is important because it's what allows families to stay in touch. It's a
social community when families are spread out and scattered and splintered all over the world.
Safiya Noble is an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, school of communication and she joins me now. So, Safiya, what
do you say to people who say delete Facebook in protest?
SAFIYA NOBLE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Well, I think that's the position of a privileged few, particularly in the
United States who could launch a campaign and argue that we could delete Facebook which, of course, we can and many people will and probably should.
But that doesn't negate the fact that Facebook has two billion users worldwide and for some people their only experience of the internet is
Facebook. And so I think it's a little bit disingenuous to think that we can solve these problems strictly at an individual or personal level.
Certainly we need to pay attention to many multi-national media tech companies that are tracking us.
GORANI: But what about other forms of communication? I mean in developing countries the use of mobile phones is widespread, access to 3G usually is
available, more or less, even in areas that are far removed. Is it possible that people even here, even in more disadvantage parts of the
world who use Facebook to stay in touch with family might be turned off?
NOBLE: Well, I think that one of the challenges here is that we have so much interconnectivity between these platforms whether you're using a
mobile device to connect to Facebook. There are certain kind of interrelated applications, people are logging into all kinds of other
systems using their Facebook log in. I don't think it's quite that simple to just move to another platform. All of the major platforms are
interested in buying, selling, trading our personal data to advertisers, to state governments, to all kinds of actors. And so I think flocking away
from Facebook to another possible platform isn't nearly going to get at the structural issues of what does it mean to become the product of these large
companies and have very, very little control over that.
[16:40:06] GORANI: So what's the solution?
NOBLE: Well, I think we see an uptick in interest in regulation in the United States, certainly the EU has been out front and in terms of other
platforms like Google, Amazon, eBay, I think Facebook, for sure, we're definitely going to need to sit down at the table with people who study
these platforms, those of us who understand the harms that can come to the public and we need to be thinking about consumer protections across a whole
host of platforms that harvest our data and sell it, particularly because we don't know the ways in which we're being commodified and sold.
GORANI: But, Safiya, also the issue is that very few companies control a huge majority of how we communicate online, where we buy our products,
where we store our personal information. I mean, you know, obviously when you had big industrial corporations cornering markets like that there was
then a concerted effort to break that up and introduce antitrust laws and allow smaller competitors to have a fair shake. Here, you're facing a
similar issue, right, with a completely different industry?
NOBLE: That's absolutely true. I just wrote a book about this called "Algorithms of Oppression" where I look more closely at Google, but
certainly other large monopoly platforms who control the information landscape that so many of us have been, you know, forced or strongly
encouraged to engage with. And Facebook is not the only company that's tracking us, and all of these platforms have been left to kind of self-
regulate or self-manage and we know that that's not how you protect consumers from tremendous damage that can be inflicted upon them through
monopoly hold on information or media.
GORANI: All right. Safiya Noble, I think we're at the very beginning of this process when it comes to big tech companies. We'll see if this
scandal has any measurable impact. Thanks so much for joining us. And as we mentioned, Mark Zuckerberg himself will be sitting down for an exclusive
interview on A360 with Lori Siegel at 1:00 a.m., if you're in London. If you're in Hong Kong, you're in luck because it won't be so late. It'll be
at 9:00 a.m. And it replay throughout the day, of course.
The man thought to be behind the sting of package bombings in Austin, Texas is dead. Police say 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt blew himself up as
authorities closed in on him early this morning. This footage is said to show him entering a local FedEx store and authorities are confident he is
responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and wounded five others in the region. What is not yet clear is whether he acted alone or
if he may have left other deadly packages around the area. I should add what's not clear is what his motive might have been.
Still to come tonight, the U.S. East Coast gets a very chilly start to the spring. More on the massive storm disrupted travel and causing
cancelations at the White House.
[16:45:25] GORANI: In Nigeria, more than 100 school children are now trying to go back to normal life after being released by the terrorist
group Boko Haram early on Wednesday.
Lynda Kinkade has their story.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Crowds gather in a small Nigerian village as they hear the news. Nearly all of the 110
school girls kidnapped in Dapchi Nigeria have been returned. Tears rolling down the girls' faces as they are surrounded by friends and family once
more. The students were kidnapped from the government girls science and technological college on February 19th. Several of the girls said some of
their friends died in captivity. One of the girls described how they were taken by Babangida, a member of the terror group, Boko Haram.
KHADIJA GREMA, KIDNAPPED GIRL (through translator): When they took us from the school, we were seated thinking about what we could eat. Then we heard
a gunshot. Everybody was confused, running helter-skelter. They then called to us and asked us to come to the school gate. We went to the gate.
They then called Babangida to bring a vehicles and they packed us into the car.
KINKADE: There was no reason given for the girls return. The Nigerian government denies paying a ransom. The read in a statement that back
channel efforts led to their release and that it was unconditional. The girls were seen walking into Dapchi after simply being dropped off early
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I saw with my own eyes, 11 Boko Haram vehicles. They were with the children. When they got to the tarred
road, they stopped and blocked the road. They didn't talk to anybody. They didn't greet anybody. They were just shouting "Allahu Akbar." They
dropped the children on a corner. Everybody came to see the children.
KINKADE: The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari had vowed to bring the girls home deploying troops and surveillance aircrafts to find them. But
according to a new amnesty international report, the Nigerian government failed to act on advance warnings of the Boko Haram raid on the school.
Nigerian army spokesman, John Agim tell CNN the allegations are false and that the army was not informed.
The kidnapping of these girls is the biggest mass abduction since Boko Haram took more than 270 school girls in the town of Chibok in 2014. A
case that triggered international outrage. Over 100 of those girls remain missing.
Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The British foreign secretary focused some of its comments on Russia when he addressed parliament just a few hours ago always colorful.
Boris Johnson said Russia would look to boost its image by hosting the world cup in the same way Adolf Hitler tried to use the 1936 Olympics in
Nazi Germany. And he also commented about the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: I think the timing is probably more closely connected with the recent election in Russia. And
as many known democratic figures do when facing an election or facing some critical political moment. It is often -- it is often attractive to
conjure up in the public imagination the notion of an enemy.
More news just in to CNN of the Palestinian girl on trial for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier has now agreed to a plea deal. Ahed Tamimi will
spend eight months in prison including the time already served since December. The Israeli military prosecutors have agreed to drop eight of
the 12 charges. Tamimi became famous when she was filmed attacking the soldier outside her house just hours after she found out her cousin had
been shot dead with a rubber bullet.
Let's turn our attention now to the United States and for a story that's not political for a change. A monster snow storm is tearing through the
U.S. northeast two days into spring when 70 million people are under winter weather alerts along the east coast. More than 4,000 flights have been
cancelled. So check, by the way, with your airline if you're flying to the U.S. And the heavy snow is disrupting work in Washington. The White House
cancelled all public events today. And federal government offices were shut down. This is the fourth Nor'easter to hit the U.S. in three weeks.
And in Washington, Philadelphia and New York it's expected to dump more snow than the three earlier storms combined. Let's check in with Alex
Marquardt, he joins us live from New York. I haven't seen -- there is your background. How is it going, Alex?
[16:50:09] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Hala. Isn't this a beautiful first day of spring? Actually, it is quite
beautiful. But it belies a very serious forecast here. The east coast in the past few weeks has been pummeled by these four nor'easters over the
past three weeks. Some of the cities you mentioned major east coast cities, Philadelphia, Washington, New York, where we are, in Boston, all
getting this heavy snowfall. We've seen this heavy snow coming down all day. In all different forms. It's been rain, it's been sleet, it's been
hail at times. Now, you've got these big fluffy flakes that are coming down and the storm is supposed to get worse over the next few hours. This
city, New York City is under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning at 8:00.
And if you look over here, this is the highway going down the west side of Manhattan. You can see there are lots of cars. They are actually doing
quite well. The city has done a very good job at preparing these roads, preparing these highways to avoid any sort of accidents. But despite what
the snow looks like coming down, it's not that fluffy light snow that any skier likes to enjoy. This is actually very heavy and wet snow. The
danger right now is that it's not very cold. It's hovering right around zero degree Celsius. So that makes for heavy wet snow that is perfect for
plucking snow balls, perfect for making snowman which a lot of people surely are doing today. But what that means despite some of the calm that
you're seeing on the streets here, the danger is that it will weigh down these branches, weigh down the trees, those branches could end up on power
lines and lead to power outages that will add to the chaos. Up in Massachusetts, there are still people who are still trying to get back
online after some of the storms over the course of the past few weeks.
Now, here in this area, New York as I mentioned is supposed to get some of the worst or heaviest snow fall between 30 and 45 centimeters. There's
been a state of emergency declared in the southern part of New York State. Across the Hudson River here in the state of New Jersey, they have also
declared a state of emergency. New York City schools are completely out today. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has asked people to stay
inside as much as they can, if they have to go out to use public transportation. He says this is a very serious storm, but one he says they
are fully prepared for. Hala.
GORANI: All right. Alex Marquardt, thanks very much.
A minor correction. I mentioned Ahed Tamimi and the fact that she had agreed to a plea deal to spend eight months in prison. She's already
served three. That means she'll be probably freed around July. I said that she slapped the Israeli soldier after finding out her cousin have been
shot dead in the head with a rubber bullet. In fact, the cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet, but did not die. We'll be right back
with more news on CNN.
GORANI: Well India is, course, a land of culture. It has traditions that go back many, many centuries from architectural marvels to time-honored
crafts and religious celebration. This month on CNN's "DESTINATION INDIA," we delve into the distinctive sights and sounds of the south Asian nation
and how it celebrates colorfully the coming of spring.
[16:55:12] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ganga has been the symbol of our age long culture values. People worship Ganges water. It's very deep-rooted.
People come very early before sunrise, before our rituals. They offer water to the rising sun and they are polite to them. It's a matter of
faith we respect, we worship. We have blend up cultures here in Varanasi, Buddhist, Muslims, Hindus, Jews. This is a microcosm of Indian Life.
Holy celebrated across the country from (INAUDIBLE) to Kashmir Today is the day of full moon day. We cook very delicious cuisines and everyone will
have new clothes and we make the life colorful. That's why through color on each other.
Green symbolizes prosperity and red also happiness. We use dye powder. We have issued that this is the victory of good (INAUDIBLE)
Tonight, we will burn the bonfire (INAUDIBLE). We want to burn our enmity. We want to burn our social label from holy, we have new life. Almost
everyone celebrate holy. Armed with this, but we participate, we respect all religions. This is the beauty of this city. Reap, live, and we
respect each other.
GORANI: Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.