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Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp Returned After Major Outage; Whistleblower: Facebook Placing Profit Over Public Good; President Slams Republican Opposition to Raising Debt Limit; Investigation Exposes Hidden Dealings of World's Elite; Report Details Sexual Abuse with French Catholic Church. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 05, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world, I'm Isa Soares in London. And just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were down for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Incredible timing with the Facebook whistleblower about to testify on Capitol Hill.


SOARES: Facebook can't get a break. The tech giant's troubles are growing ahead of testimony in Congress that could have severe implications.

The French Catholic Church braces as a report says more than 200,000 minors have been abused by clergy over seven decades. We're live for you in Paris.

And China ramps up the pressure on Taiwan. Blaming the U.S. for tensions in the region.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Hello everyone, it is Tuesday, October 5th. And Facebook is recovering from a global outage that left the social network and its family of apps inaccessible for billions of users for hours on Monday. But another nightmare for the company has grown worse. In just a few hours, a whistleblower with stunning allegations will testify on Capitol Hill. Frances Haugen is a former Facebook manager. She says she has evidence proving the company knew its platforms were fueling hate, spreading this misinformation, as well as harming the mental health of young users and that Facebook chose to hide it from the public to protect their profits. She spoke to "60 Minutes" about what she uncovered and the harm that Facebook is doing. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: The thing that I saw in Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.

When we live in an information environment, it is full of angry, hateful polarizing content, it erodes our civic trust, it erodes our faith in each other, it erodes our ability to want to care for each other. The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world.


SOARES: That's what Hausen said. Now back to the outages we told you about, impacting social media users around the world for nearly six hours. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram. Facebook is blaming the problem on a faulty configuration change and says there is no evidence that user data was compromised. Meanwhile the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, apologized Monday for disruption and some of the platforms were coming back online.

Let's get more on this. CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now here in London. And Anna, normally these sorts of outages don't really last very long and that wasn't the case yesterday. What more can you tell us about the global outage?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I think that's what was really quite extraordinary, it was around six hours, and not just users in one geography, Isa, so it was all around the world, all three platforms. Of course, there are immediate concerns, could this be a cyber-attack? But from what Facebook have told us in what you just ran through, it seems to be a much more technical issue. A faulty configuration change if you know what that is. They have apologized for this outage but this is venting confidence in the company, which is already under huge pressure amidst growing concerns about their ethics, their credibility.

Look at the share price. It was down 5 percent yesterday. It's off by about 15 percent just over the month. And I think it really is looking ahead at the potential risk of regulation -- Isa.

SOARES: And the share price, we might see another tumble today. Because it's going to be another pretty difficult 24 hours for Facebook, Anna. We are expected to hear as we outlined there from the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. What do you think we'll expect to hear from her? Of course, we've heard part of it from the interview but what more could we hear from her?

STEWART: I think we're going to hear a lot more about her experience of working for Facebook. I think we can expect growing calls for lawmakers to actually force Facebook to be regulated to make it accountable.

And we do have some of her prepared testimony, actually, and she will be saying: I believe what I did was right and necessary for the common good, but I know Facebook has infinite resources which it could use to destroy me. I came forward because I recognize a frightening truth, almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happened inside Facebook.

Well, we're going to learn a lot more about what happens inside Facebook after the testimony. The subcommittee hearing is looking at the risks that Facebook platforms pose to young children. This is something that's been discussed now for some weeks. But I would expect a broad spectrum of questions from Senators to have, and perhaps looking for instance at what Facebook could have prevented in the past.


For instance, the attack on the U.S. Capitol back in January, could they have alerted law enforcement earlier about what was to happen. This is going to be likely a very damaging day for Facebook. They have said that they deny all of the accusations that have been waged against them. But yes, it's not a good day. It's not a good week for Facebook frankly -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and I think you and I, Anna, will probably be talking about this again tomorrow, as we hear from Haugen today. Thanks very much, Anna.

Well, unless Facebook runs into new problems, as Anna was outlining, still battling with U.S. regulators who are calling for the company to be broken up. The social media giant is asking a court to dismiss a revised anti-trust complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission. Lawmakers are also focused on anti-trust efforts including Senator Amy Klobuchar.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I want to get things done. I want to get the privacy legislation done. We know recently Apple said to its user, OK, you don't have to opt into this collection of data. 75 percent of the people didn't want their data collected. They chose not to. We need to make these improvements, the federal law of the land, so that people are protecting their own data and their privacy.

Secondly, when it comes to tech and other consolidation, I lead this effort, I lead the anti-trust efforts in the Senate. It's bipartisan, and we have to do something about the fact that they -- the mergers, the fact that they are able to self-preference, we call it, their own stuff that they buy, so that it hurts other competitors. The fact that our enforcers don't have enough resources. These agencies are shadows of their former selves even from during the times of Ronald Reagan when AT&T was broken up.

And so, a lot of this is happening right now, slowly but surely, but honestly, it's like a game of whack a mole or whack a behemoth. Every corner I go around this capitol, there is some new lobbyist, there's some Senator saying, well this lobbyist told me this, this lobbyist.

At some point we have to get this done. So, as much as I want these hearings -- and yes, we can yell at tech executive -- it is time to pass the legislation so that we protect the safety of our kids and competition for our country. That is what capitalism is about.


SOARES: Well, the Facebook outages and the whistleblower's allegations sent stocks tumbling on Wall Street as you can see there. The Dow lost almost 1 percent on Monday. The tech heavy Nasdaq was down more than 2 percent -- 2.2 percent -- and the S&P lost 1.3 percent. But the markets are looking to rebound when they open in the next few hours. These are U.S. futures and how they're looking. Of course, we'll keep on top of the markets as well as Facebook's share price.

Now U.S. President Joe Biden's agenda is hanging on by a thread. The president is traveling to Michigan today to rally support for his infrastructure bill and Build Back Better agenda. And with less than two weeks until the government's default on its debt, he's calling Republican opposition to raising the debt ceiling hypocritical, dangerous, as well as disgraceful. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Raising the debt limit is about paying off our old debts. There's nothing to do with any new spending being considered. There's nothing to do with my plan for infrastructure or Building Back Better. Zero. Zero.

Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they're threatening to use the power, their power, to prevent us from doing our job. Saving the economy from a catastrophic event. I think quite frankly it's hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful.

As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt. It's as simple as that.


SOARES: So, what exactly is at stake? CNN's Jeff Zeleny explains.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: President Biden making repeatedly clear the stakes are dramatically high, the U.S. could fall off a fiscal cliff in his determination. Now this of course is if the Senate does not act to raise the nation's debt ceiling. That of course is the ability of the U.S. government to borrow money. It comes every year. It's always a partisan fight but never like this. Republicans are simply not agreeing to join Democrats in voting to raise the debt ceiling. Now, all of these bills, if you will, are from spending in the Trump administration. From his tax cut program, from other measures that Republicans voted for.

But now, there is simply a partisan stalemate. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans simply will not join Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. So, what does that mean? The next two weeks are critical. That is essentially when October 18th -- mark it on the calendar -- when the U.S. effectively runs out of its borrowing party. It hits its ceiling if you will. [04:10:00]

So, it would not be able to pay many of its bills from Social Security checks to military payments and it certainly could affect the full and fair credit, the borrowing power of the U.S. government.

Now the president said he simply couldn't guarantee that something would happen. Most officials believe that this stared down, if you will, this stalemate will get worked out somehow. But certainly, unclear as this week continues. The president traveling to Michigan today to push the rest of economic agenda with this massive challenge hanging over him.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


SOARES: And while Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, some Democrats say they will get it done with or without Republican help. Take a listen.


REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): You can have the American people decide in '24 whether they like the fact that seniors now can get dental care. Whether they like the fact that they can get paid leave if they have a sick child. Whether they like the fact that they can have their -- go to college, and not go into all of this debt. This isn't about politics. This is about if you care about the United States and if you care about the economy, we have to raise the debt ceiling.

I will say, I was reading someone who said that there are three presidents who added the most to the debt, Abraham Lincoln -- understandably we were in a civil war. The next there were Donald Trump and George W. Bush. So, the Democrats as usual are cleaning up from the debt added by Republican presidents but if that is what we will have to do, we will do it, we have to govern responsibly. I don't care about the blame or not, we have to do the right thing. We have to raise the debt ceiling even if it's Democratic votes.


SOARES: Well, that's the debt ceiling. Meanwhile, Democrats are under pressure to pass the rest of President Biden's economic agenda. Following a meeting with house officials, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said $3.5 trillion is too high of a price for the Build Back Better Act. The bitter divide between progressive Democrats and centrists is growing. One lawmaker who is refusing to support the president's multitrillion dollar spending package was confronted by accident.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wait, I'll be back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to talk to me really quick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I am heading out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, is a real moment that our people need to be able to talk about what is happening. We need a Build Back Better plan right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that we can have justice and solutions that we need for immigration, labor --

CROWD: Back the bill. Build back better. Back the bill. Build back better. Back the bill. Build back better. Back the bill.


SOARES: Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are two Democratic centrists whose really resistance to Mr. Biden social agenda is threatening to upend his entire presidency.

Well, the Biden administration is reversing a Trump era role that stops federally funded health care providers from making abortion referrals and that change is set to take effect next month. It comes as a growing number of Republican led states are limiting access to abortions. And the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in this new term.

Now a second outgoing State Department official is slamming the White House policy on Haitian migrants, Harold Koh, a senior legal adviser, called the policy illegal and inhumane in a memo to colleagues. He said many Haitians had been sent back home even though they may face persecution, torture or death. Last month the U.S. special envoy to Haiti also blasted the Biden administration's policy before stepping down.

A U.S. State Department spokesman says the Treasury Department is deeply engaged in revelations found the Pandora Papers, an investigation exposing the hidden dealings with some of the world's wealthy leaders including the king of Jordan. He's one of hundreds of politicians, public officials, as well as billionaires and celebrities named in the report by an international group of journalists which sheds light on how some go really about hiding their assets. CNN's Matthew Chance has all of the details for you.


GERALD RYLE, INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS, DIRECTOR: This is the Pandora Papers. I guess we think we're opening a box on a lot of things.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one of the world's biggest ever leaks of financial documents, nearly 12 million private files exposing the secret wealth of world leaders, billionaires and celebrities. And crucial where it's stashed.

RYLE: These documents for the very first time are actually showing the U.S. asset tax haven itself.

CHANCE (voice-over): Among the most high profile is King Abdullah of Jordan whose nation benefits from hundreds of millions of dollars every year in international aid -- including from the United States. The Pandora Papers allege the king funneled more than $100 million into 14 luxury homes, in Britain and the U.S., including three mansions in malibu, overlooking the Pacific Coast.

In a written statement, the Jordanian royal court said the allegations included inaccuracies and distorted the facts saying these properties are not publicized out of security and privacy concerns and not out of secrecy or an attempt to hide them.


Other leaders like the Czech Prime Minister facing elections this week, are under more immediate pressure. He says allegations he secretly bought a lavish estate on the French Riviera by moving $22 million to offshore shell companies, was timed to damage his campaign.

I've never done anything unlawful or bad, he tweeted in response. But that does not prevent them from trying to slander me again and to influence the Czech parliamentary elections, he added.

RYLE: We're talking about some of the most famous people in the world that are in these documents. Presidents. Prime Ministers.

CHANCE (voice-over): Most of the transactions detailed in the papers are not illegal. But some of the figures' names are no strangers to allegations of corruption. For instance, the Pandora Papers contains documents linking the Russian president Vladimir Putin to a multimillion-dollar property in Monaco. The lobby pictured here bought with for a woman with whom he is alleged to have had an affair and a child.

The Kremlin refuses to comment on Putin's private life, saying it's never heard of the woman concerned. But on the Pandora allegations, Putin's spokesman told reporters they were unsubstantiated and would not be investigated further.

LAKSHMI JUMAR, GLOBAL FINANCIAL INTEGRITY POLICY DIRECTOR: In the financial centers of the world, like the U.S., Europe, leaders are able to funnel and siphon money away and hide it in these jurisdictions through the use of anonymous companies.

CHANCE (voice-over): Of course, it's not just politicians implicated in the Pandora Papers. Top business figure, even music icons like Shakira, who denies any wrongdoing have also had private financial dealings exposed in the data release. Shedding light on the secret assets of the super-rich.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


SOARES: And still to come right here on the show, a stunning new report reveals decades of sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church with a number of victims estimated in the hundreds of thousands, our Cyril Vanier joins us live from Paris. Plus, COVID numbers are gradually improving in the U.S., but health

experts are already turning their attention to a new pandemic concern. We'll bring you those details just ahead. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.



SOARES: Now if you're just joining us, a new report has just been released detailing decks of sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church and the numbers are really staggering. As many as 3,200 pedophile clergymen abused an estimated 216,000 minors over the past 70 years.

CNN's Cyril Vanier joins us now live from Paris. And Cyril, these numbers are staggering, they're shocking. I mean, I know it goes back all the way to 1950. So, talk to us what the findings show, and clearly, for me, when I'm looking at the information that's come out, it's whether we will be seeing any prosecutions whatsoever.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first let's take a moment to take in that number, Isa, you said it's staggering, I couldn't agree more, an estimated 216,000 people. What does that mean? 216,000 minors who were placed in the care and the trust of priests, deacons, members of the Catholic Church -- by the way that number much higher, if you include the wider Catholic environment of Catholic schools, of youth movements, Catholic charities, then that number goes up to 330,000 victims, who were abused when they were minors within the Catholic environment.

And I think there is really no denying that there's going to be a before and after for the leadership of the Catholic church here in France, Isa.

If you look at the prevalence, this is really interesting, the report has done forensic statistical work to try and determine, you know, how often the abuse happens within the church, relative to other social settings for minors, the prevalence of abuse of minors within the church in the 70-year period from 1950 to 2020, 0.8 percent, 1.6 percent if you factor in the schools, and the youth movement. It doesn't sound like a lot. Well, it is. It is a lot, Isa, because it means that Catholic church was the most dangerous environment, barring families and friends, the most dangerous environment for minors in terms of abuse as compared to all of the other social settings for minor, Isa. Schools, holiday camp, sports camps, cultural activity, the Catholic church, the most likely place for abuse to happen on minors during that time period -- Isa.

SOARES: It is a lot, Cyril, and viewers watching are looking at this report, it's staggering, 216,000 minor, it's truly shocking. So, where does this go? Because I know this was commissioned, this report commissioned by the Catholic Church in France. So, what can we expect? What changes can we expect? Any prosecutions can we expect to come out of this? VANIER: You're right, this is part of the church reforming itself and

coming to grips with what has happened. Now, the independent commission is advocating, is calling on the church to accept collective responsibility, as an institution, for the sexual abuse and for failing to protect the children.

Now, while the church has taken steps in recent years to prevent abuse, it hasn't gone as far as what the commission is advocating, accepting collective responsibility for this. And the report is also advocating paying the victims, you know, reparations for the victims, based on what has happened to them. And a lot of these facts, are really no longer punishable by law, because they happened more than 20 years ago.

So, while criminal law will be a factor, and there could be criminal proceedings in some cases, in most cases, it really is about the church recognizing what happened, recognizing the victims publicly and then taking concrete steps to prevent this from happening again.

SOARES: Well, we shall wait to see what the French Catholic church says. Cyril Vanier there for us in Paris with that breaking news. Thanks very much, Cyril. Great to see you.


Now London's metropolitan police have announced an independent review of its culture and standards. It comes amid crumbling trust really in the city's police force following several high-profile cases against officers last week. And that officer was sentenced to life without patrol for the abduction and rape, as well as murder of Sarah Everard. Just days later another police officer was arrested and charged with rape. The police commissioner says the review is one of several measures aimed at rebuilding public trust.

We have new details for you on Donald Trump's plans for 2024. That's right. The reason he almost announced another White House bid just a few months ago.

Plus, Taiwan's president has a warning for the region, as Beijing ratchets up pressure on the island. Both those stories after a very short break. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.


SOARES: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Isa Soares. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Facebook is back after a massive outage across its apps including Instagram and WhatsApp, really that left most of the globe in the dark online for more than five hours.

And breaking news, a report says more than 200,000 minors were sexually abused within the French Catholic church. We'll keep you updated of course on those two stories. Now at least two organizers of the January 6th Stop the Steal rally in

Washington are cooperating with Congressional investigators. The House committee has issued 11 subpoenas for communications from that day, and sources say a number of people have either complied or say they can't comply.

Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham says she is terrified at the prospect of Donald Trump running for president in 2024.