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Christopher Wylie and Zeynep Tufecki Discuss Mark Zuckerberg's Testimony Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 11, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Facebook under fire. Billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg faces a tougher second day of questioning on
Capitol Hill and admits Cambridge Analytica even harvested his private data.
Whistle blower Christopher Wylie who first broke the scandal and take expert Zeynep Tufekci guide us through the next step. Plus, President
Trump warns that missiles will be coming to Syria as he hits out at Russia for backing President Assad who he dubbed a gas killing animal. The former
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the options for Trump on the table.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Tens of millions of people around the world want to know what
Mark Zuckerberg is going to do to protect their privacy. It is day two facing the music on Capitol Hill for the Facebook CEO. He has been
polite, contrite, and by most accounts he's managed to do himself and his company no harm. But questions about Facebook's unauthorized sharing of
user's data persists.
This round of crisis for the company was triggered by the Cambridge Analytica Scandal which compromised the information of as many as 87
million users and testifying before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Zuckerberg revealed that his own data was exposed by the firm.
ESHOO: Was your data included in the data sold to the malicious third parties? Your personal data?
ESHOO: It was? Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting individual privacy?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, we have made and are continuing to make changes to reduce the amount of --
ESHOO: No. Are you willing to change your business model in the interest of protecting individual privacy?
ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, I'm not sure what that means?
ESHOO: Well, I'll follow up with you on it.
AMANPOUR: An that of course is the crux of the matter. Again and again lawmakers press the CEO for more transparency and called for legislation to
regulate the social media giant. Mark Zuckerberg may not have even testified in Congress today if it weren't for my next guest, Christopher
Wylie. He is the whistle blower who first dropped the dime on Cambridge Analytica. So Christopher Wylie, what do you make of this testimony? Is
it all that you expected and hoped for?
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, THE WHISTLE BLOWER FOR THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL: No. I think, you know, when you look at there were a lot of soft ball
questions. There wasn't really that much, I didn't seem to learn anything. I don't know if anybody learns that much about Facebook. I think that's in
part because when you have Senators and members of Congress that really don't understand technology it's sort of like watching your granddad try to
fix the VCR.
AMANPOUR: Yikes, that bad?
AMANPOUR: That bad?
AMANPOUR: Well you know what? I just want to ask you because do you - what do you make of the constant round? I said he was contrite but he's
been contrite for many, many years. Senator Blumenthal brought a chart where over and over again over the years when crises arrived, he has
apologized. I mean what makes this any different?
WYLIE: Well I mean actions speak louder than words. So I think we have to wait and see what they actually do and more broadly, the actual
questioning, it's the role of our legislators not just in the United States but around the world to ask tough questions. So I think we all need to
start prompting our representatives to start asking tougher questions.
AMANPOUR: You know it's funny because even the great Kara Swisher who's the Silicon Valley Tech Giant reporter has said the same thing, that
reporters are treating Mark Zuckerberg and others as if they were (inaudible), if they were fragile. But let me turn now to Zeynep Tufekci
who is a professor at the University of North Carolina.
She specializes in the social impact of technology and her column in "The New York Times" this week is titled, "We Already Know How to Protect
Ourselves from Facebook" which of course begs the question, why aren't we doing it then? So Zeynep, why are we not doing it before I get to the
ZEYNEP TUFEKCI, PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AND JOURNALIST: I think the ways the Senators struggled with keeping up with
the technical details of a clue (ph). A lot of what is happening is behind the scenes and obscure.
So we don't really understand all the data that's being surveilled, all the data that's collected, the way we're tracked, the way it operates.
It's kind of hidden from the view and it's been allowed to go like this in the digital economy for too long.
And I think these scandals are the first signs that we're publicly thinking are transitioning to this digital phase. How do we do it? How do we do
AMANPOUR: Well, one of the sound bytes that we played actually in the introduction was when one of the Congress people today was trying to get
Zuckerberg to say whether he would change his business model. And you wrote a lot about that. You know that the business model is actually --
AMANPOUR: -- what the whole system, you know, how it was designed in the first place. So what can the answer to that be?
TUFEKCI: So the core (inaudible) really is the business model. That's why Mark Zuckerberg has been apologizing basically even before finding --
founding Facebook he was apologizing for Facemash. It's been 15 years of nonstop apologies because this model of collecting enormous amount of data
about people and it's not just collected on Facebook.
Facebook tracks you as you browse the web through tracking pixels. Facebook tracks people who've never logged on to Facebook or signed up. It
creates shadow profiles. It tracks you across devices. It buys data in countries where it's allowed to about you from other data aggregators and
then uses this enormous amount of data to sell us, our eyeballs, our attention, to advertisers who pay for that finely-tuned targeting that
happens screen by screen.
And that business model also optimizes the algorithms that shape how Facebook operates for keeping us longer on the site, is one of their
parameters which means things that go viral which includes misinformation can be promoted by Facebook's algorithms.
So the -- in combination that's the core issue. The extensive amount data surveillance with very little over sight, the kind of targeting that
Facebook allows and the fact that our attention is sold basically to the highest bidder often, whomever it may be around the world with so few
people, very little staff, mostly automated in ways that are very air prone, keep throwing out scandals and he keeps apologizing --
TUFEKCI: -- but we have to address is this really how we want to run our digital economy and I think it's time to say, you know we can do things
AMANPOUR: And differently, I think and Zeynep has written this and you've talked about it that the actual customer needs to be the user, not these ad
giants, not these people. Right, Christopher?
WYLIE: Yes. Well -- and I think one of the -- one of the things that I think we really need to sort of take a step back and look at is that you
know when -- when -- when we look at things like building standards or safety standards for automobiles, right?
We -- first of all, we don't defer -- we don't defer to you know these industries we look at what actually is safe for people. And secondly, we
don't -- we don't let you know legislators who don't understand the issue you know manage the entire process -- subject to lobbyist.
We -- we create building codes, we have experts, we have engineers who are paid to create building codes to make sure that we have a safe environment,
that the electricity wiring and all that is safe. So why is it that we don't have -- you know why don't we have technology safety codes?
Why don't we have data sign safety codes? Why don't we have the same sort of level of technical scrutiny that we apply to construction or to auto
manufacturing that we -- you know for our own -- our data and our democracy.
AMANPOUR: That was a little bit of what one of the Senators yesterday was trying to get to. Senator John Kennedy, who was talking about the --
basically the user privacy agreement and basically said that it was awful.
AMANPOUR: But, let's just play that and we'll talk about it.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, (R), LOUISIANA: I'll start with the user agreement. Here's what everybody's been trying to tell you today and I say this
gently. You're user agreement sucks.
You're a -- you - you can spot me 75 I.Q. points. If I can figure it out, you can figure it out. The purpose of a user agreement is to cover
Facebook's rear end. It's not to inform your users about their rights.
AMANPOUR: I mean I think he was obviously playing to the crowd and trying to look tough, but he's basically right.
WYLIE: Yes, I think -- I mean part of the nature of informed consent is the informed bit, right? You can't really have informed consent if you're
not actually informing users. And I think actually more broadly having a policy of reasonable expectation on most of these tech platforms would be a
Because if it is -- if an app is doing something or if a platform is doing something that's not reasonable expected than you shouldn't be allowed to
do it. You're respected of what the technical terms and conditions say.
AMANPOUR: You know, he also said, so help me if you don't fix it; we're going to regulate you. It's clear that the Congress doesn't want to do
that they don't want to regulate.
WYLIE: But -- but -- see this is an area that is calling out for regulation. This has to do with the integrity of our democracy. This has
to do with safety. This has to do with whether or not we have informed citizens. This is -- this is absolutely the role of regulator.
and in fact in a lot of the world including here in Europe, it is regulated. It is very well regulated and that hasn't stopped Facebook from
performing well in Europe and making money in Europe. It just means that we have to do it in a framework that respects privacy and consent of
I don't understand why Facebook would have a problem with that.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I know and they do keep saying, you know famously Zeynep after the Cambridge Analytica crisis and the scandal that you revealed
Chris, they said, didn't they Zeynep, that this wasn't a breach and that it was all consensual. But as we know --
WYLIE: They tried see the guardian over it.
AMANPOUR: As we know it wasn't informed consent.
TUFEKCI: It can't be informed consent the way the digital economy works for two reasons. One of them is so much is happening behind the scenes
like on Android apparently users were kind of tricked because I talked to tons of people and nobody knew that they had accepted this, to uploading
all their SMS messages and who they talk to outside of Messenger. Because just when you're saying accept it was kind of like buried in the fine print
and you didn't see it.
So users aren't being informed. The second reason this is not informed consent is that how can you inform people about how this data will be used
10 years down the line? Right now all the data Facebook has on you, for example, can be used to predict whether you're likely to be depressed or
not, right? This is a new development. How are we supposed to consent to something that is a new development that is inferred from the data?
The third thing that speaks to the complexity of this is that Mark Zuckerberg was asked, for example, does your product track people when
they're logged out. He said No. The answer is yes.
He was asked does your product track people across devices. He said I don't know. The answer is yes. He was asked that --
AMANPOUR: How could he say I don't know?
TUFEKCI: Well the thing is either he was asked does Facebook collect browsing history outside of Facebook. He was and can you download that?
He was yes you can download that. It's not in the downloads. So there are two options here. One, even Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know his product and
if Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know his product, how are we supposed to consent to something so complex?
AMANPOUR: Well let me --
TUFEKCI: And the other option is, he's not telling us what his product can do. So neither option is really great and doesn't speak to the possibility
of informed consent.
AMANPOUR: But you also Zeynep, you are not for deleting the Facebook account. I mean you have written, you know there's been this hashtag
WYLIE: I'm not either. Because I think - I think that's the wrong approach because it's like saying if you don't want to be in a car crash,
don't use cars. If you don't want to be electrocuted, don't use electricity.
TUFEKCI: Yes, I know.
WYLIE: This is - this is here to stay. The internet is here to stay.
TUFEKCI: -- a lot of good things.
AMANPOUR: But what are the good things?
TUFEKCI: And also people can be great, you know? There are all sorts of things that we people can use Facebook as anti censorship. I use Facebook
products to connect with friends and family. There are a lot of civic functions that I cannot participate in without Facebook. But I'm not
saying it's a bad thing. I'm just saying this is a bad way to do it.
TUFEKCI: and also it was really telling yesterday, one of the Senators asked Mark Zuckerberg who's your competitor? He was like, I don't know and
he couldn't name one and that's the problem. There is no effective competitor to Facebook for so many personal, social, interpersonal
functions, that the idea that you can get off of it is not reasonable. Also even if you've never been on it they have a shadow profile of you
anyway so just not using it doesn't get you out of tracking.
WYLIE: And I think that's also why we --
AMANPOUR: I have literally 10 seconds left Chris, go.
WYLIE: I think that's why we have to look at it as a utility in the same way, you know, there isn't a competitor because there can't be a
competitor. It's so scaled that there isn't so let's treat it like a utility.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and I think you are very disappointed that he has so far refusing to come here because most of those users are actually outside the
WYLIE: Yes, Facebook is a global platform. Why aren't you engaging with the legislators outside of the United States? This is not an American
platform. This is a global platform. Come to Britain. Talk to Damian Collins and the committee here. They actually have jurisdiction of the
Cambridge Analytica matter.
AMANPOUR: Well to that point, I put this very crisis to the E.U. Commissioner on this matter and I talked to her earlier today because in
the European Union they are bringing out the big guns and they're talking about regulation. Late next month the E.U. will roll out new data privacy
legislation to protect citizens and I spoke with the woman who is leading that effort as I said, the Commissioner Vera Jourova. She said that she
hopes Zuckerberg follows through on some of the pledges he made but if he doesn't, there will be consequences.
VERA JOUROVA, EUROPEAN UNION COMMISSIONER: I am glad that he is promising to take the weaknesses of Facebook seriously and I am personally happy that
he's using the E.U. upcoming roles (ph) on better protection of privacy of people as the global standard. So in other words he says that he will not
abide (ph) the European rules only in Europe but globally.
[14:15:00]I want to explain I want this core philosophy in our new rules because we want to have the people or to give the people back their data
under their control and we want to do this with full respect to the individual, it's an individual freedom. I always say that in Europe we do
not want to - the data subjects so it means the people to become data objects - data objects which are easy to manipulate. And we are
introducing a lot of very important rights from May on for the European people that's the right to be forgotten. That's the right to take the data
and transfer them somewhere else or take them back. So these are very important rights which I do hope Facebook or also other key players in
digital industry will fully comply with.
AMANPOUR: The German Justice Minister has responded to the Congressional testimony by Mark Zuckerberg and she's tweeted that it is good that we have
stringent rules in the European Union. Whoever breaks those will feel the consequences. So Ms. Jourova, what are the consequences?
JOUROVA: These new rules are harmonizing the functions for the whole Europe and they can be rather (inaudible) in case of massive harm which can
appear on European market and we can go up to 4 percent of the annual turnover of the company. So --
JOUROVA: -- I think these are the penalties which can really make a difference and I believe very strongly that such sanctions have very strong
AMANPOUR: You, yourself, have delete your Facebook account. Why did you do that? Are you making a stand or is there something that turned up on
your account that was untenable?
JOUROVA: I didn't like to be on Facebook. I am a politician so I have to stand criticism but I had on my Facebook account was really only dirty (ph)
messages attacking me and attacking the people who I defend because in the European Mission (ph) I am a defender of the vulnerable people of
minorities of the gays and lesbians and I am the defender of civil liberties and you can imagine how strongly I might have been targeted by or
affected by those who do not wish to enable the people to live in peace in Europe.
And that's why I simply didn't like it and I decided to cancel the Facebook account and then I was criticized and many people said how could you have
done it? Is it possible? Something totally incredible so I want to say we need to keep this freedom to get in but also to get out.
AMANPOUR: Very strong words. Commissioner Jourova, thank you very much for joining us.
AMANPOUR: And now we turn to another very big story and that is the impending apparently accountability for the alleged use of chemical weapons
by the Assad regime in Syria. Donald Trump today ratcheted up the rhetoric sending out this warning via his favorite channel, twitter, that military
action is imminent. Quote, Russia vows to shoot down any an all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia because they will be coming. Nice and
new and smart. You shouldn't be partners with a gas killing animal who kills his people and enjoys it.
Well in this deadly back and forth banter, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded on Facebook that smart missiles should fly toward terrorists not
towards lawful governments.
As the President was hunkering down with his advisors at the White House on Syria strategy this week, I spoke to Former Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. And she started by telling me that she's concerned because only a cohesive and comprehensive plan has a chance of working now.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I have to tell you I think it's very hard to understand fully what is going on in
the White House. I know what it was like during the Carter and Clinton Administrations when in fact there were very detailed and very well-
prepared meetings of the various principles that were involved in decision making.
And I think that it's unclear at the moment how that works. President Trump seems to just kind of make decisions or tweet before that kind of
consultation has taken place. John Bolton is somebody that has not always exhibited collegiality when he's been in the government before. So I think
everybody is going to wait to see what happens because what is really needed Christiane, is it's one thing to respond to this horrific attack and
it should be responded to militarily, but it needs to be done within some kind of a strategy.
[14:20:15] And we truly do not know what the strategy is since, last week, President Trump was saying that he was gonna withdraw troops, and now he's
kind of -- we -- we have no idea what direct it's going and so, I will be very interested, also, to the extent that an outsider can follow the
decision making process to see how a strategy is formulated.
What has to be happening immediately, what's medium-term, and what's long- term? You, better than anyone, cause I have listened to you so much on this, know the tragedy of Syria and, that, in so many ways it has become a
proxy war for everything that's happening in the Middle East.
AMANPOUR: And do you think that one of President Trump's must dos is to get a coalition together? And of course, you know, he hasn't been the most
friendly when it comes to allies or alliances.
ALBRIGHT: I think a coalition would be very important. I was, frankly, appalled when I saw President Erdogan , President Putin, and President
Rouhani meeting about Syria and there's no America there. I know what happens America is not in meetings, and I think, that, that is a sign that
we need to be back in there and it has to be done with a coalition.
And so, I hope President Trump can figure out how to honor the responsibilities of our friends and allies when we need them in such a
AMANPOUR: You just mentioned Putin, Rouhani, and Erdogan. You were one of the first, if not the first, U.S. official to meet Putin even when he was,
just, caretaker president. He hadn't yet been, fully, installed as president of Russia. We're going back to the late `90s, 2000. Give us the
benefit of your knowledge of him, back then and how you think he'll respond to any action in Syria. He's already threatened against it.
ALBRIGHT: Well I -- the first I met him was, actually, at a APEC meeting, while he was caretaker and he seemed very, kind of, small and somebody who
was trying to ingratiate himself with everybody. The next time that I met him was when I went to Moscow, in order to prepare the summit of 2000 and
at the summit, itself.
And by then, I have to tell you, he was somebody that was very well informed. He was in the meetings without notes and took notes and knew
exactly what he was going to say. I think he is a very smart man. I think he has played a weak hand very well, and we can't forget that his
background, is as, a KGB agent. I think he is playing a hand well and we need to respond to it, in strength.
AMANPOUR: But what does that mean, let's say, if President Trump decides, as one of the Israeli, former air force commanders told me, that, the only
thing that would work in terms of getting rid of any threat, of more barrel bombs and chemical drops, is to take out all the airfields. I mean, Russia
is so heavily on the ground. What do you think Russia would do?
ALBRIGHT: I am not just for using military force. I think that we need to look at the full spectrum of tools. I think that the sanctions that have
finally been put on need to be really enforced. I do think, there need to be diplomatic contact, and then, I don't want to be a military planner. I
am not, but if I were still Secretary of State, I would want to know what the Pentagon has in mind.
And what is the long-term here because frankly, I don't think there's any solution in Syria unless there is a political settlement of some kind,
where the various parties are involved, and where there's a plan for what the next steps are. The problem has been, this is always, kind of,
immediate gratification on something, and what we need to do is to have a longer-term and it has to involve that combination of tools.
AMANPOUR: And now, can I ask you a slightly, off piece question about personal style and context? President Trump was, really, very angry, and
in front of a group of generals as they were discussing their Syria policy this week. He was furious and venting about the FBI raid on his lawyer's
office, Michael Cohen.
And then he said, "Oh, but we do, actually, have to discuss Syria." Now, because you went through some of this with the scandal surrounding
President Clinton, in the middle of, you know, trying to holster down the Hussein account, cruise missiles being launched, what can we expect from a
president who's got all this other stuff on his mind, while also facing some of the most challenging, difficult, and sensitive world issues?
ALBRIGHT: I do think that obviously we all were trouble by what happened with President Clinton's personal life, but I can assure you that he had a
character and capability which allowed him to be very serious about foreign policy issues or any other issues to do with the government and they did
not interfere in this. And we actually did an incredible amount of very detailed and difficult foreign policy issues in 1998. And so the question
here is -- is President Trump a disciplined thinker?
[14:25:00] Does he really delve into issues and you know all I know, I haven't met him and all I know is what I read, so the bottom line is I
think that one needs the decision making process as I described earlier and not kind of tweeting on things that are as important as this and being able
to concentrate and really understanding the depth and problems of the issues.
And so I think it's very important to get that decision-making process into shape so that there are - and frankly when you're in one of these jobs
whether you're Secretary of State or National Security Advisor, the most important thing is to have peripheral vision and to have a plan and to be
able to respect what other people are saying to you and then assimilate what is going on and then make a decision calmly.
AMANPOUR: Madeleine Albright had much more to say on the current state of global affairs so tune in tomorrow night for the rest of our interview when
the Former Secretary of State talks about a chilling new force for us to face down in her new book, "Fascism A Warning."
And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.