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Reparations Bill Passed in Evanston, Illinois; COVID Rising in Africa. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 26, 2021 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here`s what`s coming up.
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In the time it takes me to make this remarks, more than 100 people will
lose their lives to COVID-19.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): As the Delta variant spreads rapidly around the world, Africa is in its deadliest phase, where vaccines are in their
ROBIN RUE SIMMONS, EVANSTON, ILLINOIS, ALDERMAN: We said yes to reparations. We said yes to repair.
AMANPOUR: Evanston, Illinois, becomes the first U.S. city to issue slavery reparations. Is this the beginning of something or just a one-off?
I was shocked at, just internally, how many Facebook employees have been trying to do good, have been trying to tell their bosses that they see
major problems and major issues.
AMANPOUR: "An Ugly Truth." Reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang reveal the design behind Facebook`s darker side.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I`m Christiane Amanpour in London.
The raging debate here in Europe over vaccines just entered a whole new phase. Today, lawmakers in France took dramatic action, approving a new
rule to require special health passes for restaurants, cinemas, as well as domestic travel and other inside spaces.
Shunning a readily available vaccine is a luxury Africa doesn`t have, where less than 2 percent of people there have received a single dose. Meanwhile,
here in the U.K., almost 60 percent are fully vaccinated.
Despite all the talk and promise of vaccine sharing, in fact, the rich world has hoovered up over 80 percent of the global supply. But, this week,
Africa finally starts receiving doses of Johnson & Johnson`s offering.
With such a woeful lack of supply, the continent is also experiencing its deadliest wave.
Matshidiso Moeti is the WHO`s regional director for Africa. The veteran doctor was pivotal in the fight against HIV/AIDS across the continent. And
Sir Jeremy Farrar, the infectious disease specialist, U.K. government COVID adviser and author of "Spike: The Virus vs. the People, " an insider`s
account of the pandemic response, is joining me.
Welcome, both of you, to the program.
Can I ask you first, Jeremy Farrar, as you analyze and watch the pandemic responses, you see what the president of France is gambling on, a whole new
law to insist on vaccine passports. Can I have your my initial response to that?
JEREMY FARRAR, DIRECTOR, WELLCOME TRUST: We have got to do all we can to try and encourage everybody to be vaccinated and provide vaccines around
the world in an equitable way.
We`re not doing it. We`re not doing it well. The U.K. has done remarkably with the vaccine rollout. And, actually, vaccine hesitancy in the U.K. has
historically been very low. But, in France, in Italy, in Spain and in other countries, U.S., vaccine hesitancy, people not wanting to have the vaccine,
has been very much higher.
I`m personally much more in favor of trying to persuade and communicate and educate and try and persuade people of public health measures. But,
sometimes, if that`s not working, I can see why France is taking the idea that you have got to encourage more, you have got to maybe even force
people to have the vaccines.
But I think your introduction to this section was so important. Most of the world does not have access to vaccines. So it`s not about vaccine
hesitancy. It`s about vaccine apartheid, frankly, and vaccine inequity, and I think that is really the most important global issue.
AMANPOUR: Well, I`m sure your term vaccine apartheid resonates with Dr. Moeti.
So we have established that 80 percent of the global supply has been hoovered up by those who produced it, the rich nations who made self-
interest more important than sharing, despite their promises.
What is the actual on-the-ground situation? We have said you`re in your deadliest wave in Africa. You have the least amount of supply. What are you
seeing in front of your very noses right now there, Dr. Moeti?
DR. MATSHIDISO MOETI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Yes, it is a deadly combination, in fact.
We have had for the last two months, eight weeks, a straight increase in cases every week. And we have had also an increase in deaths, which has
just started to slow down. And then we have seen at the same time in June a virtual stopping of availability of vaccines in Africa.
So, we had only 450,000 doses of vaccine available for 1.3 billion people in Africa in the month of June. And we`re starting to see also populations
getting very tired of the measures of prevention, masks, distancing, and so forth.
So all this is really a perfect storm for a third wave, which is unprecedented. It`s 80 percent higher already than the previous wave that
we had on the continent. It`s a serious situation. And we believe it hasn`t peaked yet.
We have just had Eid in our Muslim believing countries. And we need to anticipate that what that will do in terms of cases and, unfortunately,
deaths in Africa.
AMANPOUR: So, Johnson & Johnson, which is the one-dose vaccine, is sending a doses to you. Or at least I think the U.S. is sending some six million
doses. Honestly, it`s a drop in the ocean. Even 20 million doses is a drop in the ocean.
All the things that they have promised are drops in the ocean. What do you think you can do with those drops right now? And will they make a
difference? Do you even have the capacity to administer them, Dr. Moeti, around the continent?
MOETI: Yes, they will make a huge difference.
And it`s very encouraging to start to see the doses being delivered in countries now. And we express our appreciation, particularly to the U.S.
government, which has been the quickest in terms of delivering higher volumes of doses.
We have seen our countries be capable of delivering the doses that they have received. In the first round of doses, countries like Rwanda, Ghana,
Botswana, Lesotho, even Angola made very good use and raised high coverage and used up a high proportion of the doses that they received.
We`re very concerned that, having had this gap, this pause, our countries in the latter part of this quarter and late in the year will start
receiving doses, and we need to really help them to gear up in several ways to microplan, make sure that they have got first the vaccine delivery
sites, the ways of registering people.
There have been some challenges, assuming that elderly African people have mobile phones and have connection to be able to register, so being more
creative and going where people go in order to register them, and then mobilizing the capacity of the extra health care workers that will be
needed to deliver, making sure the funding is there.
The World Bank is offering. The African Development Bank, the Afreximbank, are offering money. And we need our countries to access this money and
organize really solid delivery campaigns.
And as WHO, we`re there to support them. So that`s the huge effort that now has to come on board.
So, let me ask you, from your perspective, Jeremy Farrar, because, as you have all said, as long as one country or one area in the world is not
vaccinated and healthy, it`ll affect everybody else. In other words, it`s all for one and one for all in terms of protection.
So what is your nightmare scenario? Because, despite Dr. Moeti`s optimism, we know that the Congo had to throw away, or the Democratic Republic of
Congo had to throw away more than a million doses because they couldn`t administer them before they expired.
What is your fear if Africa cannot be protected?
FARRAR: Well, Dr. Moeti is being characteristically diplomatic there.
I mean, the issue is, frankly, not about rolling out. Yes, every country, Europe, North America, has its own challenges in rolling out. But you can`t
roll out what you don`t have access to. And the biggest problem is access.
And I am afraid frankly, U.S., yes, applaud the generosity, but they are very small amounts. And the world needs to get 10 or 11 billion doses
available around the world in the coming weeks or months. And why it`s so important is, yes, it`s about saving lives, yes, it`s about preventing
illness, yes, it`s about taking off the pressure of the health system and making sure health care workers and the vulnerable are protected, but it`s
also in all of our self-interests.
Because, if we don`t do this, and we have high transmission around the world, then new variants will come. We have already seen Alpha. We have
seen Beta. We`re now learning what it means when you have a highly transmissible Delta variant that takes off in every country.
There will be new variants if we allow transmission to continue at its current rates or even get higher. And so it`s enlightened self-interest.
It`s public health and scientifically the right thing to do, as well as morally and ethically.
And we have got to step up, the G7, the G20 countries have got to stop talking about whether countries can roll it out and start making them
accessible to the vaccines that everybody needs.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you whether you were surprised, Jeremy Farrar, as one of the originators of the whole notion of COVAX and sharing and all the
rest of it, that self-interest amongst the rich countries prevailed, that basic human nature prevailed.
And we have got more than we can deal with and surplus and all the rest of it. Are you surprised by that?
FARRAR: Yes, I am surprised.
I think circumstances change. So, being charitable, a year ago, six months ago, people were talking about vaccinating 30 percent of their population.
With the Delta variant, frankly, that is 70, 80, 90 percent of the population.
So, I appreciate circumstances have changed, but we made some mistakes in May of 2020, frankly. We didn`t build in the manufacturing capacity around
the world. We didn`t transfer the technologies quickly enough, the manufacturing capacity and the rollout and the vaccines.
And so, therefore, I`m afraid the countries that can manufacture it have inevitably, understandably, kept it amongst their populations. But I just
stress it`s in enlightened self-interest to make these vaccines available, and applaud WHO, the government of South Africa, recently for the work with
Johnson & Johnson and with others to shift the manufacturing capacity to the continent of Africa, but Africa is suffering.
But it`s not just Africa. Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, all countries at the moment who don`t have access to the vaccine, are going through very
similar to what you heard Dr. Moeti describing in Africa.
And that will go on and on and on. And the variants that arise will come back to the U.S., come back to Europe, come back to the United Kingdom.
Before I discuss or ask you how we deal with those recurring issues, I want to ask Dr. Moeti, do you believe that it is possible for Africa, or at
least some countries -- some are already in the supply chain -- but to actually start being self-sufficient?
Because many of your leaders in the continent say, we cannot -- look, this has shown we cannot be dependent on the so-called charity or kindness of
friends. It`s just not delivered. And we need to start manufacturing.
You`re an expert in this public health domain. Is that something that`s possible in any reasonable period of time?
MOETI: No, I think the ambition is laudable, and, frankly, it`s timely.
We have been talking about local production of medicines in Africa for years now. I don`t think it`s going to make a difference soon. I don`t
think this is an alternative to the dose-sharing that is being requested, for example. So it`s one thing to transfer technology, set up an agreement
with a company.
You need to create the market. You need to find the financing if this is going to be something that`s viable beyond the initial support from
international partners. People need to invest, believe they`re going to make a profit if they put their money into this venture, so that the market
shaping is very important to do.
You need to create the capacities to train the people. And the very idea of the technology transfer and suspending intellectual property rights is also
a big hurdle to overcome. There`s huge negotiations that are needed there.
So, this is something that`s going to take some time to happen. And I believe that the kind of determination being shown at the political level
by African governments needs to be, again, translated into action. At the moment, it`s very -- it`s a very strong statement of intent, which we are
very thankful for in Africa, but we need to see it translate into a very united action, relying on each other, cooperating between countries, in
order for this to become something that`s going to be feasible going into the future.
AMANPOUR: Jeremy Farrar, can you translate for us? We are all non-experts -- at least I speak for myself -- when it comes to assessing the efficacy
of the vaccine and the perniciousness of the variants.
Many people are getting hysterical, saying, oh, they told us the vaccines would make it work, and then we wouldn`t have to worry, and now, look, all
these people who are double vaccinated here in the rich part of the world are still coming down with the Delta variant.
Can you just tell us where we stand with this variant? And are the vaccines, by and large, efficient or not, and in what way?
FARRAR: Yes, the last question, the last point is perhaps the most important.
The vaccines -- and I would include all of the registered vaccines available -- are incredibly safe and incredibly effective at preventing as
getting ill, going to hospital, and tragically dying. And that remains true against the Delta variant.
The vaccines have never been as good against stopping me getting infected. So, they may be 60 or 70 percent, 75 percent effective against me getting
infected, but they`re very good, 90, 95 percent, against me getting sick, going to hospital and dying.
And that is something that we need to celebrate and to appreciate that, if you get double-vaccined, or the single dose with Johnson & Johnson, you are
protected from getting sick and dying.
Now, inevitably, it`s not 100 percent, and so there will be a very small number of people, 3 or 4 percent, maybe 5 percent, of people double-
vaccinated who yes will get sick and go to hospital. But even they will be protected against dying as well.
So I can`t stress how strongly it is that the vaccines remain incredibly safe and highly effective, particularly against getting sick,
hospitalization and dying, including against the Delta variant.
And I think that is perhaps the most important message of all.
AMANPOUR: And I just want to play what the French president addressed specifically to the vaccine-hesitant, the vaccine hostiles, the people who
are just frankly not doing it.
All the scientists -- well, most of the respectable scientists are saying that lockdowns don`t work anymore. It is the vaccine. This is what
President Macron said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): That is not freedom. That is called irresponsibility. It is called selfishness. A
society only holds together when the freedom of each person is respectful of the other, and, therefore, it is based on rights and duties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Let me put it to you, Dr. Moeti.
When you see the French president taking on the vaccine hostility certainly in his country and elsewhere, and you see people in your continent
desperate for the vaccines, what is your reaction to that?
MOETI: Well, frankly, I find it very sad and even annoying. It`s sad, for we are looking for every vaccine those that we can get.
And, by the way, we do have here as well vaccine hesitancy. I like the word vaccine hostility, because I have seen some very angry people screaming
about how they have the right to refuse a vaccine, forgetting that then they are endangering everybody else.
So it`s ironic and it`s sad. And I think we need to work against it at all levels in all countries. Like Jeremy, I believe the best way is to persuade
and teach people. But we do in every country have provisions of public health law that, at some point, if it is deemed highly important, can be
enacted and can be enforced.
It`s a desperate last move. But I`m very sad when I see not only people go into football matches while we are struggling to get vaccine here, but
those who have the opportunity to have a vaccine not accepting it. That`s infuriating and sad.
AMANPOUR: So, Jeremy, you have written a book, basically, "Spike, " the virus vs. the public.
It`s about the pandemic response. Everybody says it should -- you say it should be persuasion and modeling and this and that. But let`s face it.
There are rules. We have to wear seat belts. We can`t drive while drunk. We have to -- sometimes, in the past, we actually had to have vaccines, and we
carried around yellow passes to show that we could travel, yellow fever and all the rest of it.
It`s not unusual to have these mandatory situations. So what do you think in your book and how you have looked at the vaccine response? Is the
biggest issue, as an insider -- what sort of, I guess, went wrong in terms of getting people to step up once the miracle of the vaccine was produced?
FARRAR: Yes, I think public health always -- Moeti has just said it.
I mean, public health always works best through trust, through good communication, education, information. And that`s the best way of bringing
any society along with your rules.
But you`re absolutely right. Seat belts is a good example. Seat belts are a good example. We mandate them, certainly, in most countries. And I think
there does come a point, Dr. Moeti, when the public health imperative trumps the individual hesitancy.
I don`t think we`re at that in most countries, frankly. I think we could still move further into the vaccine-hostile, the vaccine-hesitant people by
providing the information, by providing role models of all ages that can say, look, vaccines are safe, they`re highly effective, and we can`t
control this without them.
But I would just call back on one thing that came up earlier, that you said it`s lockdowns or restrictions and physical distancing no longer work. It`s
all about vaccines.
Public health works by adding these things together. Some degree of physical distance, the wearing of masks, the vaccines, these are additive
together. They shouldn`t be seen as one or the other. There aren`t, I`m afraid, magic bullets. Vaccines exist and will benefit people when they`re
put in the context as well with other measures like wearing a mask, like some degree of physical distancing, and being sensitive to your surrounding
community and population.
AMANPOUR: Of course, and thank you for that correction.
Jeremy Farrar and Dr. Moeti, thank you very much for joining us today.
Now, as America continues to reckon with the lingering effects of its original sin slavery, one city is trying to atone for past discrimination
by making reparations available to some of its black residents.
Evanston, Illinois, is the first in the country to do so. And it`s now working out how best to make payouts because of its Jim Crow policies.
Robin Rue Simmons, who chairs the city`s Reparations Committee, proposed the program. And I`m also joined by the British theologian and professor
Robert Beckford, who documents the legacy of colonialism and slavery right here in the U.K.
Thank you both for joining me.
Let me start with you, Robin Rue Simmons.
How did it come about? You are the first city close to Chicago to implement this. What were the building blocks that enabled you to get as far as you
SIMMONS: Well, you`re absolutely right. We are a North Shore city just north of Chicago.
And we have, like most other cities in America, anti-black practices and policies that sustain our racial divide here in Evanston. And what we had
was our racial gaps. We had a $46,000 household income divide between black and white Evanston, disparities in every other area.
But we also had good efforts in equity and inclusion. We had a chief equity officer who had done a lot of work towards sustaining equity, but not
enough or really not anything to repair the egregious acts from the city of Evanston to the black community, which we found in housing and zoning law.
AMANPOUR: So, just to be clear, you are focusing almost exclusively on housing and the zoning laws, right? And if that is the case, how does the
reparation manifest itself?
SIMMONS: So actually, this is our first step.
In 2019, November of 2019, we passed Resolution 126-R-19 to commit to reparations for our black community, establishing a fund with our first $10
million of cannabis sales tax. And through a community process, our community weighed in on what forms of reparations the black community would
like to prioritize.
There were many recommendations. But housing was the priority because it was a consensus of our feedback that was within our purview. Much of the
feedback really was the responsibility of our health care system or our education system.
But the city of Evanston has laws on this books that were enforced until fair housing was passed that were anti-black and stripped away wealth and
opportunity. So we have prioritized housing first, being informed by our community, appropriately.
And we have 96 percent of our fund remaining and a commitment from the Reparations Committee and the City Council to grow that fund and expand in
programming. So we understand that the road to repair is long, it is tireless, and we understand that we have to take a first step. This is the
first step that we have taken, fully understanding that full repair is going to include the need to address our policy and other forms of
compensation and restitution and rehabilitation.
But we`re taking our first tangible step with housing. And it will repair the damages done, because it will immediately build wealth for black
families that were stripped away from having that opportunity through housing equity; $25,000 of housing equity translates into wealth that can
be accessed to age in place for seniors, to use that equity to send children to college, or even pay down a mortgage balance.
So it`s building wealth. More importantly, it`s also building a sense of place for our black community. We have had an exodus. We`re down to less
than 17 percent of the population...
SIMMONS: ... when we have been in the mid-20s before. But lack of affordability and a sense of place has declined our black population.
And this will begin to repair families that have been injured by building wealth, building a sense of place, strengthening the voice and committing
to continuing the road to repair here in Evanston.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, look, it sounds like a really exciting, I think, we can say experiment right now, right, because you`re the first in the
And I`m going to ask you in a bit about whether it can be spread out around the country.
But I want to ask you, Professor Beckford. You are listening to this. At least there`s an acknowledgement there that there is historic, systemic,
obvious racism and the need to repair. What do you think, since you have documented this for a long time and the idea of reparations here in the
U.K., when you hear what we`re listening to from Evanston?
And how far are you coming, if at all, here in the U.K.?
ROBERT BECKFORD, UNIVERSITY OF WINCHESTER: Well, first of all, I think we should celebrate and affirm what`s happening in Illinois, because it is
truly a historic first step.
The situation in Britain is slightly due. we`re looking at reparations for the transatlantic slave trade and the brutalization of Africans who were
enslaved in the British West Indies, three to four million people that we can account for.
What`s happened since the tragic death of George Floyd is an awakening, an awareness by industry in Britain with slavery links and awareness by
families with slavery links that they have to atone and make amends for the unjust enrichment that they benefited from as a consequence of their
involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
So the situation is slightly different. We`re looking at what took place in the British West Indies and looking at reparation for that particular
context. The awakening has had implications already. We have seen that the University of Glasgow has acknowledged that it had slavery links, and has
offered to pay 20 million pounds in reparation to the West Indies.
We know that Lloyd`s Bank, Lloyd`s Shipping and also Greene Flag (ph), the drinks company, acknowledged that they have slavery in their economic DNA
and want to do something about it. There are other banks, other institutions making these kinds of assessments.
And I wouldn`t expect -- I`d expect that, in the next months to come, we will hear some major announcements by major institutions about how they`re
going to make amends.
AMANPOUR: In the United States, some of this is taken up in Congress as well. It`s not reached its conclusion, obviously, but it has been taken up
Here in the U.K., there seems to be an opposite reaction. The current Conservative government, particularly senior ministers, have talked about
gesture politics, have denied in a report that there is any systemic rigging of the system against blacks or other minorities, and doesn`t --
and seems to be working in the opposite direction, to talk about seeing history in its full 360 degrees, so to speak.
Does that concern you? I mean, I ask you because you`re the brainpower behind the documentary "Empire Pays Back, " which found that Britain would
have to be 7-point trillion pounds in reparations for its part in the transatlantic slavery trade.
BECKFORD: Look, I think we have to remember that the major export from the transatlantic slave trade is racism. It`s still very much with us. It`s a
part of our everyday lives.
And, unfortunately, it finds its way into government. We have known that since the 1950s, when black people have been here in large numbers, that
structural racism has been an everyday feature of black people`s lives.
It`s something you can`t wash away through a weak and politically motivated report, such as the single report or the failure by leading Conservative
ministers with slavery links to acknowledge that they have benefited unjustly.
I think that the weight of history is with those who have been campaigning since the 1950s for reparation for the transatlantic slave trade. I think
that we are at a pivotal moment, a tipping point, where industry, government, and maybe even the royal family, with the changes in the
demographics of the royal family, maybe now they will also acknowledge their links with the slave past and make amends.
So I think that there is just too much force, there`s just too much going on in terms of well-being, a positive sense that change needs to take place
to address the past, and that can`t be withheld or stopped by the recent denials by the Conservative Party in the single report to suggest that
racism isn`t an everyday part of our lives.
But we need to also disentangle the two. Although systemic racism is a product of the past, what we`re attempting to do with reparations is deal
with a particular historical injustice and the morality of that cause, which is just.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a personal question in terms of your family, Robin Rue Simmons?
What were the particular Jim Crow policies that affected your family?
SIMMONS: Well, I`m a native Fifth Ward resident, and, by default, my family was restricted to living in the West End of the Fifth Ward due to
policies that impacted segregation here in Evanston.
So, we were not allowed access to the same opportunity, not allowed access to the same education. We are the only neighborhood in Evanston that
doesn`t have a neighborhood school today, still. We did not have access to healthy food. We`re registered as a food desert.
We had a hospital in our neighborhood, community hospital, that was close. And these amenities, community amenities have never returned.
And we see the consequences today. We see it in our household income. We see it in our declining homeownership rate. It`s lower than it was before
fair housing was passed in 1968. We see it in our education outcomes -- outcomes, our achievement gap.
And so, that was the experience that I had being bussed to public schools here in Evanston and not having the same livability and access to
opportunity as my white classmates and my white friends here in this city. And that continues today in 2021, we`re still racially segregated. I still
live in the neighborhood in which I was born and raised and it is still the predominantly black community with the most concentrated poverty and the
least access to all amenities and community assets as well.
And we are changing that. In passing reparations in 2019 there is the heart and will among our city to begin the road to repair. Our legislation is
unique to the city government, these municipal reparations, but institution, organizations, businesses, our faith community has really
stepped up in our city as we continue to advance our municipal reparations policy.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you just to address some of the critics? There will always be critics and some in the community are saying that the money that
you`re talking about is going to not go back to the banks but it is going to be administered or whatever to some of the banks who were probably
complicit in the first plate. The amount is not enough to right the profound wrongs and the amount should be in cash for whatever people want
to send approximate it on. What are your answers to that?
SIMMONS: My answer to that is I could not agree more that the amount is not enough. But this is the beginning of the work. It is the first step. It
is a tangible step. It is $10 million more than any other American city has set aside for the harms in their black community. But we are beginning the
work. So, the answer to that is join the work. Let`s advocate to expand the fund and expand the program.
The concern about the benefit going to the banks, the wealth goes to the family. Equity in a home is wealth for a family. And how that family
chooses to use their equity or wealth is their privilege and it is their right. We do not have purview over the banks. And to that point, we have
been working very hard to partner with a bank that will provide reparation benefits, including financial products and services that complement our
goals for reparations here in Evanston. It is unlikely that any resident, our black community or any other is paying cash for a home.
And then in terms of it being a cash benefit, our focus on housing was informed by our community. It is also directly connected to the injury that
we have here in housing and zoning laws. So, it makes it a very viable case for reparation. We had a direct harm related to housing impact and wealth
being stripped away and a we have a direct remedy that responds to that harm. And I believe that what`s allowed us to accelerate our goals for
reparation beyond theory into practice beyond celebration or ceremony into something actually tangible.
So, agreeing that it`s not enough but celebrating our city for taking a first important step, one that has been uncomfortable and unprecedented,
but one that we have committed to and we are committed to building on the world.
AMANPOUR: Before I turn to you, Robert Beckford, I want to play an illustration of what Robin is telling us and that is about the housing. And
HBO "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" this week just showed stark examples of this complete historic injustice that Robin is talking about. A
black family called the Bruce`s owned extremely valuable land in Manhattan Beach I believe it is. And the city took it away under the guides and
eminent domain in the 1920. This is John Oliver`s response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, "LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER": There is, pretty obviously, only two ways of making this right, give the Bruce`s $20 million
or give them their land back. And incredibly, the later might actually happen. Because L.A. County, which owns the land, recently released a plan
to returning it to the Bruce`s, which is to put remotely, about time. It`s literally been called Bruce`s Beach since 2006. Is the apostrophe S a --
joke to you people? It indicates possession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Sir Robert Beckford, a British export, you know, showing, you know, his moral outrage in America. I guess I want to ask you for your
reaction to that issue. But also, can you tell me how it is manifesting itself here in the U.K. given it is a different situation but the
descendants, those who were caught up in this, you know, historic injustice of the slave trade, what are the worst impacts here in the U.K. for them?
BECKFORD: Well, but first, I think the Bruce`s Beach situation is tragic and it is reproduced right across America. So, it is not an isolated
incident. The taking of wealth of the African Americans in the 18th and 19th century was part of the white supremacist project. It is absolutely
In Britain, it is slightly different. We`re looking at a postwar situation where colonial citizens from the westerners whose ancestors were enslaved
by the British come to Britain and experience British racism. So, in dealing not only with the impact of slavery in the Caribbean and making
amends for that, also dealing with the one which racism has manifested itself within British society, particularly in one (INAUDIBLE) African
We could look at how it`s impacted in terms of education. We know that when there is a marking, for example, at universities or schools when names are
shown that African Caribbean people score lower than their white counterparts. We know that for a long period in British postwar history.
There have been issues around racialized housing where black and brown people have not received the best housing that was available to them.
BECKFORD: We also know that employment and in -- for example, another area where racialized oppression is manifested itself. So, we`re looking at two
spheres of influence here. We`re looking at, one, the West Indies and how reparation is made from the --
BECKFORD: -- (INAUDIBLE) just getting there. But also, its continuity and new forms of racialized oppression within contemporary Britain.
AMANPOUR: And we`ll keep watching both of you. Thank you so much for joining us. Robert Beckford, Robin Rue Simmons, thank you so much. And we
will see whether Evanston remains a lone holdout or whether your example will carry on around the U.S., Robin. Thank you so much.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, whether it is conversations around race or COVID-19, social media has helped spread distrust, division and misinformation. The White
House has taken on the social media giants with YouTube the latest to face its wrath. Now, a new book called "An Ugly Truth," by reporters, Cecilia
Kang and Sheera Frenkel reveal what they claim are Facebook`s deliberately dark strategies and its battle for domination. Here they are speaking to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang, thanks so much for joining us.
I want to start with kind of the tension that is bubbling right now between Facebook, the administration and really everyone, which is the
disinformation and misinformation about vaccines that`s spreading right now. We know that the majority of people who are in hospitals and dying
today, as we record this interview, are all unvaccinated. And for a big subsection of that population, they get their news from social media and
again, a larger subsection of that, they probably say they heard it on Facebook.
The administration has tried to turn up the heat on Facebook and tried to say this is, there is responsibility here. Cecile, let me start with you.
What responsibility does Facebook have to police the misinformation and disinformation about vaccinations on its platform?
CECILIA KANG, CO-AUTHOR, "AN UGLY TRUTH: INSIDE FACEBOOK`S BATTLE FOR DOMINATION": Yes. Hari, the White House sees misinformation about the
COVID vaccines as the last hurdle to solving the pandemic. And they believe that Facebook has a lot more within their control than they are exercising
in controlling this misinformation spread. So, there is responsibility and that it is the biggest social media platform. And when the White House asks
Americans why aren`t they getting vaccinated, as you said, they say they learned about misinformation -- they learned theories about the harms of
the vaccines, that are false, often on Facebook.
Facebook says that it is trying and it does have absolutely responsibility. But the question is how hard are they trying to actually clamp down on the
spread of misinformation. Not only the efforts that they do in trying to promote authentic information but what are they actually doing on the
SREENIVASAN: Sheera, one of the responses that Facebook was -- had to the administration was, look, we have done all this good. We have connected so
many millions of people to good information about vaccines, about where they can get a shot. This is the kind of stuff that we`re doing as a social
media platform. But at the same time, you know, I interviewed Imran Ahmed month ago and the Center for Countering Digital Hate had put out this
report that showed how literally a dozen people are responsible for, what, 70-plus percent of the misinformation that is happening on their platform.
So, is Facebook not reading that report? Are they in denial? What are you hearing?
SHEERA FRENKEL, CO-AUTHOR, "AN UGLY TRUTH: INSIDE FACEBOOK`S BATTLE FOR DOMINATION": You know, that report has been out for some time from the
Center for Countering Digital Hate. It shows that, you know, over 65 percent of it is being seen on social media. And people within Facebook
have absolutely seen that report.
I think what it shows, and really it is a pattern that repeats itself in our book, is that Facebook is often quite you know, reactive, rather than
being proactive about these problems. Instead of, at that point, perhaps contacting the White House themselves or launching a plan and saying,
right, here are the 12 people. Here is what we have already done, here is what we hope to do to collect more data on how misinformation spreads, they
sort of, you know, continue with their status quo.
And what we know from our own reporting is that they reached a point last week where the White House was asking them for information they just didn`t
have because they had not set up those systems that could track how far misinformation was spreading about the COVID vaccine on their platforms.
SREENIVASAN: President Biden recently accused Facebook of killing people. They kind of walked back that statement a little bit. But what is it
something that government can or should do to try and stop misinformation?
FRENKEL: You know, I think that government often gets lost in very specific discussions about really specific pieces of misinformation. And in
a way, that`s missing the forest for the trees here. You know, there are a lot of questions around, you know, what pieces of individual content could
be moderated or even specific people, as we saw the White House list, that disinformation doesn`t.
Instead, the White house could be having a discussion about why does Facebook still recommend that people join anti-vaccine groups? Why does
Facebook`s algorithm still push you into those groups, if you join one? I, yesterday, went and joined one group that was, you know, natural cures for
the common cold. And within one click, Facebook`s algorithms were pushing me into a group that was anti-vaccine? Now, if I was the White House, I
would be having discussions with Facebook about that, which is something that they have already said they want to change and do differently.
And so, I would be thinking more about how does Facebook as a platform spread that movement rather than individual players within the movement?
SREENIVASAN: Cecilia, you know, whether it is information or misinformation about the vaccines, whether it is about groups that are
organizing to plan an insurrection against the capitol, I mean, time and time again, what you detail in this book is that there are these
deliberations between people inside Facebook and Facebook took intentional actions that did change the view for billions of people of what they saw. I
mean, they sort of proved that it was possible, that they could turn the dial, so to speak, or flip some switches and change things.
KANG: Yes. It was really an important moment for us in discovering, as we were reporting this book, that Facebook has a lot of power within its
control and that they keep this from the public. That they are not transparent about how they do turn those dials. In that instance, they had
decided to change the rankings of the newsfeed to prioritize more authoritative sources like news outlets, like CNN, the "New York Times,"
the "Wall Street Journal" et cetera. And that that actually put and surfaced more authoritative news to the top of the newsfeed. It shows that
there is within their control this particular pattern.
And it also shows, importantly, that they are not explaining and revealing to public what they are doing. But another very important pattern that we
discovered is that often times Facebook, these big decisions are made by a small group of people within Facebook and particularly the CEO, Mark
Zuckerberg, who has really seized so much more control, not just on the technology, but on these really important policy decisions over content and
speech and the spread of misinformation online.
SREENIVASAN: Maybe this is overly simple or overly complex question but, what determines on Facebook what it is that I see versus what it is that
KANG: This is a really key takeaway that we hope our readers of the book will learn from, which is that Facebook is a public square with algorithms
that surface the most emotive content to top of newsfeeds, that -- and algorithms also direct its users to groups and other pages based on their
activity. And that algorithms always bias towards the most emotive content.
And what I mean by that is it content that spurs some sort of emotional reaction, be it anger or fear, happiness, what have you. But those -- that
kind of content gets you to like, to put an emoji on some sort of post you see and to share. And that`s a kind of engagement that Facebook needs very
importantly to feed its business.
The Facebook is in the business of gathering your data based on how much input you put into the site, how much engagement you have on the site. And
so, the analogy of it being a town square is not quite right. We have somebody quote in our book, Renee DiResta (ph), who is quite smart on this,
who really aptly says, freedom of speech does not mean free speech of reach. And the reach part is where the algorithms comes in, and that`s to
how Facebook differs from any other communications platform that we`ve seen in history.
SREENIVASAN: You know, Sheera, one of the things that`s interesting is that if you go with this notion that Facebook can moderate and turn down
things, say, for example, under the threat of imminent violence, right, that our protections of political speech or free speech are going to apply
less if you are threatening the lives of someone who are threatening violence.
Well, that -- if they can do that in America, what about the rest of the world that is using Facebook, in some cases, to actually cause harm on
groups of people? I mean, we`ve seen this play out, whether it is in Sri Lanka or India or Myanmar.
FRENKEL: I`m so glad you asked that. I mean, we have a whole chapter about Myanmar because that really is the worst-case scenario. Where Facebook
launched to a country which didn`t have a local and free press it, it didn`t have NGOs and civil disobedience groups which could openly counter
some of the hate speech that began to run rampant on Facebook. And we saw what happened. Facebook in that country had one content moderator that
spoke just Burmese, they weren`t even in the country, who was responsible for moderating all of the content from the country, Myanmar, where over a
hundred languages are spoken.
And, you know, in Myanmar, we obviously know that led to a genocide. But it`s -- looking across the world, in most countries, Facebook just doesn`t
have the same teams of content moderators. They don`t have people that speak every language in Indonesia, for instance, or in India for that
And so, the question begs, you know, how do you responsibly make yourself the preeminent social media company in the world, launching into all these
countries all over the world, without giving the same kind of resources to content moderates to make sure that whatever you are doing here in the
United States, being on top of the hate speech, being on top of elections, you can responsibly do that in every country where you have launched.
SREENIVASAN: Cecilia, you both write a lot about the relationship between Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg. And in a way, how she came in really
to juice up the business but also balance some of the strengths and weaknesses that Mark had. But in the past couple of years, we`ve seen
Sheryl less and less. What is her status within the company right now from the folks that you are in touch with who are still there?
KOTB: Yes. I mean, I think there are two ways to look at her status right now. First of all, she still leads an incredibly important part of the
business, which is the actual revenue creation. The profit center, which is the advertising business. And she is by all accounts internally and by
shareholders a great success. The company is thriving. $85 billion in revenues and a $1 trillion valuation.
She has, however, run up against Mark Zuckerberg`s need or concern about all the public fallout, over all, the scandals at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg
has taken over a lot of the responsibilities that early on in their relationship he left to her because he frankly thought they were not
interesting, they are not interesting responsibilities, over policy, communications, legal, security, for example.
So, he has lost some confidence in her as well as taken over more control of those kinds of roles. So, her role on the other part of the business
that is very public facing and really deals with the issues and Facebook at the intersection of the society and politics are much more influenced by
his decision making. We understand that she`s become much more isolated.
SREENIVASAN: I want a quote a response that Facebook had to your book. It says, this book tells a false narrative based on selective interviews, many
from disgruntled individuals and cherry-picked facts. The fault lines that the authors depict between Mark and Sheryl and the people who work with
them do not exist. All of Mark`s direct reports were closely with Sheryl and hers with Mark. Sheryl`s role at the company has not changed.
Sheery, do your sources tell you otherwise?
FRENKEL: They do. And I mean, I would point out that we spoke to over 400 people for this book, the vast majority of them still work at Facebook. We
didn`t, at any point in time, go seeking disgruntled ex-employees. We went seeking people who were in the room, who witness the relationship firsthand
that could speak to it. And I think that if Facebook were to be honest about its upper echelons, it would say quite a few people have been hired
at the very top and that they currently do jobs within the company that used to be handled by Sheryl Sandberg, and more to the point, Mark
Zuckerberg currently does many of the jobs that were once handled by Sheryl Sandberg.
And so, her role has very much changed.
SREENIVASAN: The time period that you are looking at during this as also the rise of Donald Trump to be president and the actions of his
administration takes. And you repeatedly have employees in there speaking up and challenging hate speech, racist speech, but repeatedly the company
seems to side with the politics of the day, taking that into account as well as the business side of it.
So, you see this kind of deliberations and you say, well, wait. Is that separate from what we`re actually looking at? And why does the politics
matter so much as almost a false equivalence when they publish and say, here are some things that we`ve taken off from the right, oh, here are also
some things that we`ve taken down from the left?
FRENKEL: Right. I mean, we see them sort of taking this political calculus into effect really at the start of Trump`s campaign for president making
this decision ultimately that they will carve out an exception for Donald Trump. And that`s a decision early on made really quite ad hoc, which kind
of haunts them through the Trump presidency and this idea that grows among conservatives that there is a conservative bias within Facebook.
Facebook constantly tries to fight against that by really, you know, making quite a few decisions out of fear of upsetting more conservatives. I think
one moment that I remember quite vividly was when they decide to take down QAnon, which is a very far-right fringe conspiracy movement and its
security team makes this recommendation of, here are the QAnon groups we really think we should remove. I think it is really important to national
security that we remove these groups. And they are essentially told by the policy team to wait and to find groups on the left, which would be somehow
equivalent that they could take down at the same time so that Facebook could announce a larger takedown, it wasn`t just far-right groups.
And it takes them several weeks to come up with this kind of bigger list. To me that was a key moment where they are showing, well, they`re slowing
down action they need to take just to create some kind of really false equivalence so the right-wing media doesn`t spin it as, oh, they only took
down a certain sort of type of group on the platform.
SREENIVASAN: Cecilia, you have covered technology in Washington a while. And you know the administration`s change and things go into favor and out
of favor. But here we are now perhaps because of how Facebook was used in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the ascension of Donald Trump. The
left seems far less enthused. The shine has come off Silicon Valley a little bit for them. And on the right, you have political conservatives
saying that our speech is being squelched.
So, it almost seems like a sort of a strange bedfellow`s moment where you have some bipartisan agreement that there needs something done. And at the
same time, you have an administration that has staffed up folks that are really been paying attention to anti-trust, they have been paying attention
to kind of the spread and power of social media. With all of that going forward change, is it likely that anything will change for Facebook?
KANG: Yes. I mean, I do think that change will have to come from the outside. I don`t think you are going to see change from internally. Mark
Zuckerberg is not stepping down any time soon and he doesn`t have accountability inside.
From the outside, it will take some time but there is incredible enthusiasm and energy right now in Washington. And as you said, Republicans and
Democrats are united in their real desire to rein in big tech companies like Facebook. There is going to be some obstacles. Even though you have
Jonathan Canter, who is appointed to the DOJ, Lina Khan at the FTC and people like Tim Wu at the White House who are very vocal big tech critics
and who have called for the breakup of big tech companies. They are still encumbered in some way by the courts, as well as -- the Supreme Court as
well as other courts, as well as the lack of legislation that really can fit internet companies into a filter of enforcement action today.
These are laws that was created -- that were created during the big oil and big steel days. And so, there are some big challenges ahead. But I think if
history is a guide, it is inevitable. It`s inevitable that these companies with so much power and dominance won`t see some sort of regulation at some
SREENIVASAN: What is the most, you know, surprising or disturbing thing that you learned when you were doing this reporting? Sheera, let me start
FRENKEL: You know, I think it was just how much people tried to sound the alarm. For me -- especially, the Myanmar chapter, to have someone in their
own offices telling them a genocide is not just likely, it`s probably going to happen if you don`t change something. This is someone in their building
in Menlo Park telling them this. And to have the company still not take action, I myself was shocked at that. I was shocked to just internally how
many Facebook employees have been trying to do good, have been trying to tell their bosses that they see major problems and major issues. And I
think all of us should sort of be aware that there are really good people who work within the company who are trying to do better. It is just
unfortunate they are often not listened to.
KOTB: One of the things that surprised me the most is how this is so much Mark Zuckerberg`s company. I mean, I think I suspected that in the
beginning. But to hear that he was making the calls on a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he was making the calls on the former
president calling for Americans to drink bleach and take UV lighting to cure COVID and that he was saying that those posts should remain up. I
mean, that was actually surprising to me to hear that he was, in many ways, the final decider on these really important decisions.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called the "An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook`s Battle for Domination." Authors Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, thank you
FRYER: Thank you.
KANG: Thank you, Hari.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, away from Facebook tonight, let us hear it for the underdogs. The British diver, Tom Daley, has finally struck gold on his
fourth Olympics after winning the men`s 10-meter synchronized diving with Matthew Lee, himself a first time Olympian. In the women`s skateboarding,
three teenagers with a combined age of 42 swept the medals. In swimming, the Tunisian, Ahmed Hafnaoui, upset the favorites and powered to gold in
the 400-meter freestyle. And last but not least, in basketball, France has beaten the heavy favorites, the United States of America, ending their
impressive 17-year winning streak.
And that is it for now. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.