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Calls to Regulate Facebook Grow After Whistleblower Testimony; Facebook VP: People Can Opt Out of Algorithm If They Want; Study Finds Fox Undermined Vaccines 99 Percent of Days in Last 6 Months; CDC Says Homicide Rates Rose 30 Percent Between 2019 And 2020; Biden Looks to Repair Frayed Relationship with Mexico; Former Woman Soccer Player Calls Coach a Predator. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 06, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: The President of content policy at Facebook and, you know, here's -- let me just show what she said about whether or not the algorithm is, you know, creating inflammatory product.


MONIKA BICKERT, VP FOR CONTENT POLICY, FACEBOOK: Let's be clear, people can opt out of the algorithm. The algorithm is a way of ranking the content that people have chosen to follow from families and friends and groups and pages. But if you want to see posts in chronological or reverse chronological order, you can.


CAMEROTA: She makes it so benign, can people opt out of the algorithm, where would you even find that? How to do that?

RODDY LINDSAY, DESIGNED ALGORITHMS FOR FACEBOOK: I actually just tried before the show to try to do it. To go back to the feed that they called most recent, so just sort of all my posts order in recency, no AI system, and it took me five minutes, I had to go to the help section to figure out how to do it. It was three clicks, and by the way the next time I refreshed the page, I was back to the algorithm, so they certainly don't make it easy.

So, in my opinion, these sort of default feeds should be just chronological order, which by the way, a lot of users prefer, and make that the default and really avoid the algorithm and all the biases and all the problems that we have seen with these algorithms over years.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: If it took you five minutes, it'll take us, what?

CAMEROTA: We're hopeless, I mean I would be hopeless.

BLACKWELL: I mean we'll be here tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: It would be impossible. You designed it and you can't figure out how to get out of the algorithm. BLACKWELL: Hey, Roddy, let me ask you this. You wrote in your piece

that the political challenge that Democrats see this as the primary concern. I have it here -- is that they believe that it's the relentless spread of disinformation. Republicans complain about censorship and bias. We saw in this hearing a degree of cordiality. Some agreement between the two sides. Do you believe that this time is different considering the compelling testimony and the flood of documents?

LINDSAY: Well, I hope so. You know, one of the things that I think a very targeted bill around Section 230 is -- we would achieve is that it would help both sides kind of address their concerns. And so, the concerns about misinformation, if you get rid of the algorithm, those concerns, you know, get resolved. The problems around bias, and algorithmic bias, censoring certain types of posts from being shown, that would go away. So, I think there's an opportunity to bring both sides together and pass something comprehensive that would have a real impact on the tools that we use every day.

CAMEROTA: And Roddy, without a law being passed. I mean you describe in your op-ed that it is virtually impossible to police this content. Because, you know, Facebook has been telling us, we have more people who are monitoring this stuff than other social media platforms. But why do you say that internally it's impossible?

LINDSAY: Well, I think it's very difficult and, you know, when you have teams of tens of thousands of people that are the content moderators, trying to figure, you know, out what's OK and what's not.

And by the way, most of them are English speaking, they're in the U.S. and the U.K., where most of the users of Facebook and other social media are outside of the U.S. and the U.K. in different languages, you know, hundreds of different languages, different cultural contexts, it's just a very difficult problem. And so, I think if you're basically able to get rid of the algorithms, you'll resolve a lot of these issues.

BLACKWELL: The basic premise of Frances Haugen's testimony and her interview on Sunday night was that Facebook puts profits over people. But if they have to abide by this new regulation you're suggesting, Mark Zuckerberg will still be a multibillionaire, right, they still will be insert superlative, insert hyperbole, rich, they will still have huge profits, right. This wouldn't kill the company?

LINDSAY: Absolutely not. You know, I think if you look back, Twitter, for instance, did not have an AI feed until 2015. Facebook in its first two years didn't have a feed at all and was quite successful. And, you know, while the companies may say, well, you know, the algorithm is what people really want. It's the core of what we do. You know, the reality is if they're forced to get rid of them, they'll find other ways to create value for people. And actually, I think, bring it back to the way that, you know, I remember social media used to be. It's a place to share with family and friends and we didn't have these huge kind of societal problems.

So, I think that, you know, Facebook's product managers and designers, you know, they'll find ways to build, you know, good compelling tools, and platforms that we like but I don't have a lot of the same kind of challenges that have come from relying on AI as being the main driver of growth and engagement.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's a relief. We don't have to worry about Mark Zuckerberg going broke. Roddie Lindsay, thank you very much for all of the expertise. Really interesting to talk to you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Roddy.

LINDSAY: Thanks very having me.


BLACKWELL: All right, two dates -- August 29th, September 4th. Their significant dates for Fox News. They're the only days in the last six months when the network did not undermine COVID vaccines on air. That's according to new research from the progressive group Media Matters. Now, despite the fact that vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and severe illness, Fox News air has been filled with vaccine misinformation and false claims and inflammatory rhetoric.

CAMEROTA: The study also finds that Fox did not mind the vaccines when Donald Trump was President. They only ramped up their anti-vaccine stance once President Biden was elected. Here is just some of their disinformation in the past month.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: How do unvaccinated people hurt anybody?

MARK LEVIN, TV SHOW HOST: They have natural immunity, and they actually better immunity than people who are vaccinated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have sovereignty over our own bodies. We have to take a vaccine that's not really a vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to run but I'll say this

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CDC says the COVID vaccine doesn't actually stop the spread of the virus. OK. So why are we banning unvaccinated teachers from their own classrooms?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk about mandate madness. It is totally out of control. In this country you would think you have the freedom to get a vaccination, but no, it's not going to happen. When was the last time you were protested or you are fired because you didn't get a flu shot? That's really how you should look at these shots.


CAMEROTA: I don't know if any single one of those words was true. Also, don't forget that Fox TV itself has very strict vaccine rules for its employees. More than 90 percent of employees there are vaccinated because there's a mandate that they have to be before going into the building.

BLACKWELL: And we talked about the misinformation online on social media, that's the loop. Some of these clips will be then shared, and then whatever is generated on social media then comes and bubbles back up on prime time --

CAMEROTA: That's right.

BLACKWELL: -- and it's a circle for the same people telling the same lie over and over.

CAMEROTA: It affects public health. And again, I want to underscore, they didn't do it when Donald Trump was touting the vaccines, only when Biden was. That tells you it's not about the vaccine. That's the takeaway.

OK, meanwhile, U.S. homicide rates rising at the highest rate in modern history. So, we'll break down the stunning numbers from the CDC's new report next.



CAMEROTA: A troubling new report from the CDC finds that the U.S. homicide rate rose 30 percent between 2019 and 2020. That's the highest yearly increase in modern U.S. history.

BLACKWELL: Now, we want to be clear, though, the overall murder rate in the U.S. is still significantly lower than it was in the 1980s and the 90s. Now CNN's Ryan Young is following the developments. Ryan, tell us more about what we learned about this spike.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Victor and Alisyn, when you think about this, it's over 21,000 families that had to deal with homicide last year. It's a really sobering number when you think about the numbers of homicides that happened in the country.

Look, we have been tracking it for over a year. Looking at some of these increases. We've been to cities like Portland. We've been to Shreveport, Birmingham, Alabama, cities that you know like Chicago and Baltimore, tracking this crime, but what we have seen is the impact sort of COVID.

The guardrails on community sort of fell off during this space, and we saw that increase in gun violence. Talking to police chiefs across the country, they say this increase has been tough, especially with the fact that so many police officers have died from COVID.

But let's look at this increase -- that 30 percent increase, from 2019, you had 6.0 homicides per 100,000. In 2020, it jumped to 7.8 homicides per 100,000.

Now when it comes to suicides in this country, they actually saw a drop in 2019, it was 13.9 suicides per 100,000. In 2020, it was 13.5 suicides per 100,000. Now across the country, you've seen some new measures going in to make

sure that gun violence is sort of stemmed in certain communities.

But no matter what spectrum you want to hear, left or right, crime and community involvement is something that people have been talking about especially during the last year. These numbers, though, are really sobering because police departments have been struggling to get a grip on all the gun violence that's happening in the community.

When you think about this, though, hospitals are much better at saving people now than they were ever been before so there's a lot of people who suffer gunshot wounds and survive who in years past probably wouldn't survive at this point.

But it's still -- when you think about the numbers that we're dealing with right now, an epidemic that needs more attention.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ryan Young, you're right about that, thank you so much.

President Biden is making some moves to help restore the complex relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. He's deploying three officials from his administration to Mexico hoping to mend some ties that are crucial for security.

CAMEROTA: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has more from Washington. So Priscilla, who are the officials he's sending and what do they think they can accomplish as they head to Mexico?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Alisyn, this is a stacked trip, and it really speaks to the importance of the visit. Among the attendees, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Attorney General Merritt Garland. The White House is billing this as a high-level security dialogue. And it's important not only because the United States shares a border with Mexico but because the U.S. relies on Mexico to resolve crises that are closely tied to U.S. domestic politics.

An example of that is the surge of migrants that we have been reporting on over recent months.


The United States often defaults to relying on Mexico to tackle that flow of migrants as they make their way through that country. And I'm told that immigration enforcement, specifically Mexico's immigration enforcement is expected to come up in these discussions.

Looming over these talks, too, is a lower court ruling in the United States that is requiring the Biden administration to bring back that Trump era policy, the so called remain in Mexico policy that leaves asylum seekers in Mexico until their immigration court dates in the U.S. that, as you can imagine, requires some buy in from Mexico.

So, there is a lot riding on this trip. As you mentioned, the United States trying to mend ties with this country. We have seen it play out over recent months the importance of Mexico, in not only helping on the drug enforcement, but also as an enforcement of migrants as they come up. So, an important few days ahead -- Victor and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Priscilla Alvarez, thank you.

Meanwhile, U.S. women soccer players are now speaking out about a sexual misconduct scandal plaguing the league. The bomb shell report detailed years of abuse. That's ahead.



BLACKWELL: The play continues today for the National Women's Soccer League. Matches were called off after a new investigative report by the Athletic. Now there are years of alleged abuse. In the report, a former player described how the coach, Paul Riley, coerced her into his hotel room to have sex.

CAMEROTA: And now another player, former player, Mona Shim, is speaking out about her experience.


MANA SHIM, FORMER WOMEN'S SOCCER PLAYER: He's a predator. He sexually harassed me. He sexually coerced me and he took away our careers.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joins us now. So, Adrienne, tell us more about some of the allegations in this report.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, this report outlines some of the suffering these former players survived. Mana Shim, who we just heard from there, said her former coach Paul Riley, quote, sexually assaulted her and psychologically abused and manipulated her.

Also speaking out and sharing their pain, Shim's friend and former player with the U.S. Women's National Soccer League was Sinead Farrelly. And as you mentioned, Farrelly said the former coach coerced her into having sex with him.

Both of the former players said the former coach sent them explicit photos that they, of course, didn't ask for. Meanwhile, Farrelly said she showed up for work filled with fear every day. She also said Riley, that former coach, changed her as a person. Listen in.


SINEAD FARRELLY, FORMER NWSL PLAYER: Soccer for me was my safe space and my -- in my world and something that I had such an innocent, pure love for since I was a little girl. And that was taken from me. So, it was just difficult to show up on the field after that and have confidence in myself. And I used to be so free when I played and I didn't feel like that anymore. And that directly relate -- like seeped into who I was at a person. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BROADDUS: These former players are turning that anger into action. Some watching and listening might ask why did this take so long to come out? Shim filed a complaint with her team managers back in 2015. Riley was let go but somehow managed to obtain another coaching job.

By speaking out and sharing their stories, they are hoping this will lead to widespread change. And we've already seen some changes. First, Riley has been fired and his license to coach suspended. On top of that, the commissioner with the league has resigned and apologized.

By contrast, some of the former players called those apologies empty saying they want to see more. Now they are using their voice, speaking up, outlining what happened to them. These are secrets they've held onto for years. And Riley, it's important to note, denies any wrongdoing. He has not responded to CNN for comment -- Alisyn and Victor.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Adrienne Broaddus, it's so sad to hear the long-term lasting effects for these young women. Thank you for that report.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Adrienne.

CAMEROTA: All right, now to this -- while the cat is away in Idaho, wait until you hear what the lieutenant governor did behind the governor's back.



CAMEROTA: OK. Now to "Game of Thrones," Idaho edition.


Camerota: Idaho's Republican Governor Brad Little is blasting his own lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, accusing her of going rogue. So, Governor Little took a trip to the Texas border on Tuesday. And while he was gone, McGeachin attempted to broaden his executive order that prohibits schools from requiring COVID vaccines or negative tests. The governor also says that McGeachin then overstepped her authority by ordering the state National Guard to the U.S./Mexico border while he was there visiting the border.

BLACKWELL: So, this is what you need to know. McGeachin is running for governor, running to replace Little. She tweeted quote, that she fixed the governor's executive order on vaccine passports by expanding it. Eight minutes later, Governor Little tweeted, I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the lieutenant governor when I return.

CAMEROTA: This is exactly how I act when you're out, when you're off the show.


CAMEROTA: Just drunk with power.

BLACKWELL: I come back and you got to put everything back together.

CAMEROTA: I change policies.

BLACKWELL: THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.

CAMEROTA: We'll keep that.