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Trump Holding Rally In Iowa Amid Fight Over 1/6 Documents; Ex- Trump Russia Adviser Releases New Memoir; Inside Instagram's Negative Impact On Teen Girls; Tristan Harris, Director, Center For Humane Technology, Discusses Facebook, Instagram Crisis And Whistleblower Testimony. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 09, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

Could a batch of sealed documents contain answers about what helped propel the Capitol insurrection?

Former president Donald Trump does not want you to find out, trying desperately to keep the material under wraps. We're sure to hear about all of these grievances that he has tonight when he takes the stage at a rally in Iowa. You're looking at live pictures there as he argues that the documents are subject to executive privilege.

Trump can claim executive privilege all he wants, but he's not the executive anymore as we know. It's this guy. This man right here, President Biden. He is rejecting Trump's attempt to assert executive privilege. This seems all but certain to lead to a legal showdown as the House Select Committee investigating January 6th wants these records.

They're already focusing in on four close Trump associates, including former adviser Steve Bannon, who is outright defying a subpoena from the committee. Why? Bannon's lawyer says he's simply following Trump's direction.

Let's go to CNN's Joe Johns who is in Des Moines ahead of Trump's rally.

Joe, the former president just reached his highest favorability rating ever in Iowa. I suppose that explains the reaction he's receiving there in Des Moines this evening. What can you tell us?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I can tell you that looking at this crowd and comparing it to some of the other states where the president has given rally on Saturday afternoon, very similar. This is by far, at least so far, the smallest crowd we've seen for Donald Trump, but it's still early. He's not due here for several more hours, but I think the important thing to say is the question about Donald Trump appearing here in Iowa here at the Iowa State Fairground sort of answers itself. This is the site of the first in the nation state caucus, of course,

when it finally comes. Too early to say of course whether Donald Trump is actually going to announce that he's jumping into the race. We're told a lot of aides have suggested this is not the time. We know also that the people here in Trump world have hired a couple of aides here in Iowa to work for them so that sort of tells you where things are going.

Talking to people coming in, of course, there's a high expectation that Donald Trump is going to run once again for the white and he has great support from people in this crowd. Nonetheless, what the people here will tell you who work with the former president will say is this is very much like the other rallies where the former president has dropped into this state or that state to show support for individual candidates he cares about and this is no different.

So we're going to see Chuck Grassley, the longtime serving Iowa senator, a bunch of others here. The governor of course of the state. All speaking before this crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds keeping in mind that the Iowa caucuses are a very long way off -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Joe Johns. We'll be watching that rally as we know you will as well. Thanks so much. We appreciate that.

And my next guest has warned that American democracy is under attack from within. Fiona Hill previously served as the top Russia expert to former President Trump and she became a key witness during the first impeachment trial denouncing Trump's fictional and false narrative that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.

And she's now out with a new memoir about her experiences before and after. It's called "There is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century."

And Fiona Hill, thank you so much for joining us. Great to see you. I want to talk about the book in a moment, but first I have to get your reaction to the former president campaigning in Iowa. We just saw some signs behind Joe Johns a few moments ago that say "Save America." I can't think of anything more Orwellian than that. And at the same time, he's telling allies like Steve Bannon don't testify to the select committee for studying what happened on January 6th. Your reaction to all of that.

FIONA HILL, FORMER TOP RUSSIA ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, my reaction to all of that is obviously that we're in a very serious situation right now. And you mentioned George Orwell, you know, of course "1984," George Orwell's very famous book was all about a whole world in which lies where the -- you know, the point of the realm, that lies were, you know, the thing that everything was built upon and telling the truth was, you know, something of a revolutionary act.


And this is, you know, where we are right now. President Trump -- former president Trump, he still says he's President Trump, is going to go out to Iowa and basically spew a whole lot of lies about what happened in the 2020 election. What's happened on January 6th. And about his own investigations, as he's putting it, into the election and election counts all the way across the United States.

So we're already in that Orwellian territory. President Trump is, in many respects, a character right out of one of all those books.

ACOSTA: Let's dive into your book and your experiences with Trump. I suppose there are some more Orwellian themes that you right about. One thing that you write about is that he wanted a nasty list, a, quote, "nasty list" of world leaders. I thought I heard it all from Donald Trump, but there's always more, of course.

And he wanted a list of anybody who said anything negative about him. And he would actually seek payback, and you say, quote, and you put this up on screen, "At times like this, I felt like 'Alice in Wonderland' watching the queen of hearts constantly calling off with his head or off with her head whenever someone displeased her."

What exactly was going on behind the scenes? Did you ever witness any officials or world leaders try to stand up to his madness?

HILL: Well, world leaders did, but, of course, you know, they would also get themselves in the crosshairs. You know -- we all know that he kept on running Twitter feeds with key individuals. Very famously, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who had basically stood against President Trump's decision to ban Muslims at one point, you know, from traveling to the United States. Sadiq Khan then said, well, you're not welcome to come to London. He'd gone right on to the nasty list.

Anyone who at any point had said anything about President Trump while he was campaigning during the presidential primaries or at any point in the campaign or any point afterwards would immediately find themselves on that list. He also very famously, for example, trashed Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, after it was reported that he had said something that Trump took to be nasty after one of the G-7 meetings.

And then there were many examples of this. And for someone working within the White House and the National Security Council, and also the State Department and U.S. embassies, there was an instruction after a point to basically keep a catalog of the things that people had said to make sure that any of these individuals from foreign countries who might be high up in their political hierarchies would not be invited to any kind of meeting with the president at any point during official gatherings. I mean, in many respects, this is fairly childish as one might notice right away.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And you became a household name, as you know, after you testified at Trump's first impeachment trial but what people might not know is what you went through eight after that. You got death threats. You were even advised to seal up the mail slot on your door. Tell us what was going on.

HILL: Well, look, this is very typical when anybody speaks out. I mean, just recently, President Trump issued a statement against me after no doubt hearing that I've been out and about in this past week, you know, talking to you and to other colleagues in the media about, you know, some of the things that I witnessed.

He's attacked, you know, for example, Stephanie Grisham, his former press secretary, who has also made a number of comments about things that she witnessed while she was in the administration. Everybody who criticizes him in some way gets some (INAUDIBLE) directly from him, and then from people who are supporting him out on the internet.

And all of these death threats and these derogatory comments, these threats of violence were mostly out on the Internet, but of course, you know, we've all seen how once people get into the crosshairs, we can, you know, look no further than people like Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking out about the importance of getting to a grip with the pandemic and finding white paper, a white powder sent in a paper envelope to his office, for example, and having to be doused down by a hazmat crew, or opposition figures, purported opposition figures to President Trump getting pipe bombs sent to them in the mail, for example, after his attacks on them.

He has, you know, crossed over a threshold where -- and of course January 6th is a classic example of this -- where many of his supporters think that they have to take drastic action and even resort to violence against people who speak out.

ACOSTA: And you also talk about the sexism you faced in the administration. You write, quote, "In the Trump White House, Ivanka Trump and FOX News set the dress code for women. It was readily apparent that for Trump and those around him, it was all about the look, the image. Not what you were or not what who you were or what you did."

Fiona, I remember that myself, seeing that firsthand covering the White House. I mean, that was very apparent. So I do find it interesting that you picked up on that and wrote about it.


But you were also given a very nasty nickname. What happened?

HILL: Well, I didn't learn about this until later from a member of the press who was doing some interviews with me and a kind of a basically an article about my time in the White House, who had gone and interviewed many of the men who I had worked with and discovered that I'd been known as the Russia bitch.

You know, a kind of certain compliment, I suppose, but also just underscoring the fact that most women were not really paid attention to. And in a recent statement that the president issued about me, for example, he claimed to not know me at all and never have noticed me. Just underscoring again that, you know, someone who had wronged him --


ACOSTA: But you had -- you had conversations with the president. Yes. But I remember you had conversations, multiple occasions.

HILL: Yes. I was in the room with him. That's right. ACOSTA: Yes.

HILL: But, I mean, that's quite typical. I mean, it just underscores the misogyny that if you're a woman or certain kind of woman that's not an immediate entourage, then you're pretty much nothing. You know, kind of meaningless. A nonplayer in his world is one of the other officials described it.

ACOSTA: Well, Fiona, I -- you and I did not have many interactions during the Trump years at the White House, but I know from talking to some of your colleagues during the course of that administration, there are so many people in the administration who had a lot of respect for you. People inside and outside the administration. So you are the Russia expert in all of this who was brave enough to make it through that administration and you did it in flying colors.

Thanks for your work and for speaking out and we appreciate your time this afternoon. Again, Fiona Hill, thanks so much. We should point out one more time, she's also the author of the new book, "There is Nothing for You Here."

Fiona Hill, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

HILL: Thanks so much, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. And we've heard the testimony and seen the research. Ahead, you'll hear from two young women on opposite sides of the world about the devastating effect Instagram had on their teenage years and how they almost didn't live to tell their stories.



ACOSTA: We are becoming a nation of bullies and the bullied. Just this week we saw anti-vaxxers chasing parents outside of schools in California.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These can be traumatizing because you put that mask on and you go let him breathe for real. You're traumatizing your kid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my choice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my choice. You better my choice, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, you're propagandized. You're not being told the truth.


ACOSTA: And flipping over a COVID testing site in New York. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.


ACOSTA: And you've seen school board meetings descend into chaos.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are. We know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can leave freely. But we can find you and we know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will never be allowed in public again.



ACOSTA: With so many teachers and school administrators harassed over mask mandates and other COVID restrictions, the Justice Department announced it would try to address this madness but some in the GOP are all but pumping their fists in favor of the bullies enabling them by telling the lie that the FBI is coming after parents.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Practically every day brings new reports about this administration weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to go after political opponents. Frankly, I don't think we've ever seen anything like it in American history. I mean, for those of us who missed the McCarthy era, I guess this president is intent on bringing it to us.


ACOSTA: People have the right to say what they want at school board meetings, but much of this disturbing behavior is going unpunished, which is why it continues, and Republican lawmakers know where these tactics are coming from. Some of them are experiencing it firsthand.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So bottom line is I took the vaccine. I've had it. It kicks your butt. If you haven't had the vaccine you ought to think about getting it because if you're --


GRAHAM: I didn't tell you to get it. You ought to think about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. GRAHAM: Well, I'm glad I got it. 92 percent of people in the hospitals

in South Carolina are unvaccinated.



ACOSTA: Senator Lindsey Graham who you saw on that video is no stranger to this behavior. We remember what happened at the airport in the days after January 6th when Graham dared to criticize Trump for his role in the insurrection.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey Graham, you are a traitor to the country. You know it was rigged. Do you know it was rigged? You know it was rigged? You garbage human being. It's going to be like this forever wherever you go for the rest of your life.


ACOSTA: January 6th is another perfect example of the bullies facing few consequences for their actions. Many of the rioters are getting off with light sentences despite video evidence of an attempted coup.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's Mike Pence?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is Pence? Where is Pence?



ACOSTA: Even former Vice President Mike Pence who was chased around the Capitol to the chants of "Hang Mike Pence" is brushing off what happened that day.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration's failed agenda by focusing on one day in January. They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans.



ACOSTA: Tell me it's a cult without saying it's a cult. It's almost like we are playing Trump cult bingo. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who won the election in Arizona? Donald Trump.



ACOSTA: "We don't know." We don't know who won. I have that on my bingo card, too. For the most part, Republicans have decided they will not cooperate with the committee investigating January 6th. That's despite a growing mountain of evidence, some released by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, alleging Trump and his top aides tried to bully Justice Department officials into investigating bogus claims of voter fraud.

Some prominent Trump allies like Steve Bannon are vowing they won't comply with subpoenas to testify. Bannon sounds like he wants to pull a "Thelma and Louise" with the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: We control this country. We've got to start acting like it. And one way we're going to act like it, we're not going to have 4,000 ready to go. We're going to have 20,000 ready to go.

The return of Trump and it ain't going to be in 2024. It's going to be in 2022 or maybe before.


ACOSTA: There they go. Over the cliff. Now, if Bannon can defy a subpoena while spouting batshit crazy nonsense on his disinformation podcast, if many of the insurrectionists can storm the Capitol and walk away with a slap on the wrist, if the bullies and their enablers can continue to gaslight us with their lies about horse paste and bamboo ballots, then no wonder the bully in chief is plotting his comeback.

It sounds like he's just getting warmed up. Did you see him on "Hannity" talking about the Haitian migrants?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hundreds of thousands of people are coming in to our country. Then if you look at the stats, if you look at the numbers, if you look at -- just take a look at what's happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS, many of those people will probably have AIDS and they're coming into our country and we don't do anything about it. We let everybody come in.

Sean, it's like a death wish. It's like a death wish for our country.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: First of all, Trump is lying and Hannity is enabling him. Haiti once had a problem controlling the AIDS virus, but it is on the decline there. Not that the facts really matter to him. And by the way, Trump has made these kinds of remarks about Haitian migrants before back in 2017 according to the "New York Times." At the time, the White House of course denied he said it.

But make no mistake, Trump is still bullying with racist tropes just like he did when he called Mexican immigrants rapists and just like when he tried to ban Muslims coming into this country. It's twisted and it's evil. I'm sorry, you can't listen to what he just said about the Haitian migrants and say that's not evil.

Trump is scheduled to hold yet another rally with top GOP lawmakers in Iowa this evening. And these politicians have to ask themselves. Why are you sharing the stage with that man after what he just said about Haitian migrants and what he did to this country on January 6th?

When you do stand next to him, ask yourself, can you feel the darkness that fills his soul filling yours, too? It feels cold, doesn't it? In Trump world, they're calling it make America great again, again. If it sounds like a bad sequel, we can only imagine what the closing scene of that sequel looks like. On Inauguration Day 2025, if Trump returns to power, which flags will the bullies drape across the Capitol? Ours or his?

And we'll be right back.



ACOSTA: Facebook was back in the spotlight this week when whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a Senate subcommittee about internal research showing the company was aware of various problems caused by its apps, including Instagram's potential toxic effect on teen girls. Two young women on opposite sides of the world know that toxic effect all too well. They say content on Instagram led them down a path of extreme eating, dieting, depression and eating disorders when they were teenagers.

Sara Sidner has this eye-opening report.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Ashlee Thomas at 14 years old. Having a complete meltdown because her parents are demanding she eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Ash. Just open your mouth and swallow it.

SIDNER: Thomas was in the grip of anorexia, starving herself.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's your last one.

ASHLEE THOMAS, EATING DISORDER SURVIVOR: It got to a stage where I remember sitting down and my dad holding my jaw open and my mom syringing food into my mouth because I just refused to eat.

SIDNER (on-camera): How bad did this get for you and your family?

THOMAS: When I was admitted into hospital, the doctor said to me, we don't understand why you're here. You should be dead. And actually in hospital, I -- my heart failed twice.

SIDNER (voice-over): Thomas says her journey with anorexia as a teen began with consuming content on Instagram about clean eating and what she thought were perfect bodies.

THOMAS: When I saw these influencers that had all the likes and had all the followers, I wanted to get a taste of that. I wanted to be liked and loved.


SIDNER (on-camera): Would you say you were addicted to Instagram?


SIDNER (voice-over): Thousands of miles from Thomas' home in Australia --

ANASTASIA VLASOVA, EATING DISORDER SURVIVOR: I was most definitely addicted to Instagram.

SIDNER: -- Anastasia Vlasova was also spiraling out of control in the United States. Clean eating captured her attention, too.

VLASOVA: I was just bombarded with all of these messages of you have to exercise every single day or you have to do these types of exercises or you have to go on this type of diet.

SIDNER: The more she saw, the more anxiety and depression she felt but she couldn't stop.

She says that led to her cycles of binge eating.

FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: Facebook likes to present things as false choices.

SIDNER: Their stories illustrate what former Facebook employee-turned- whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before Congress.

HAUGEN: I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.

SIDNER: Haugen also submitted complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing Facebook's own internal research, which found Facebook's platforms, which include Instagram, make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.

And 13.5 percent of teen girls on Instagram say the platform makes thoughts of suicide and self-injury worse.

And 17 percent of teenage girls say Instagram makes eating issues, such as anorexia and bulimia, worse.

In a statement to CNN, Facebook disputed the interpretation of the study and said the percentages are actually much lower.

HAUGEN: The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Remove content that could lead to imminent real-world harm.

SIDNER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to Haugen's testimony in a post to his employees, posting, in part:

"We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place?

Facebook has also said it welcomes regulation. But those who know the inner workings of the tech world say that won't save teens.

TRISTAN HARRIS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR HUMANE TECHNOLOGY: Because their business model is putting kids into these kinds of loops of engagement. And that's what I'm really worried about is that if -- there isn't some quick fix to this thing. It's the intrinsic nature of the product.


SIDNER: These two young women say, simply put, Instagram endangered their very lives as teenagers.

THOMAS: We shouldn't have to end up in hospital beds or we shouldn't have to be fed by the nasogastric tube or our parents have to say goodbye to us or hand over their parental rights because your platform is encouraging us to starve ourselves.


ACOSTA: Very disturbing.

Coming up, the man you saw in Sara's piece, Tristan Harris, who was featured in the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma, and also testified before Congress about the dangers of big tech, joins us next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS: The natural function of these platforms is to reward conspiracy theories, outrage, what we call the race to the bottom of the brain stem.

It's the reason why all of you at home have crazier and crazier constituents who believe crazier and crazier things and you have to respond to them.




ACOSTA: Before the break, we shared the stories of two young women who experienced firsthand the dark side of Instagram.

Our next guest is an expert in the dangers of social media. He has testified before Congress on the issue. And he was also featured in the very disturbing Netflix docudrama, "The Social Dilemma."


HARRIS: We built these things and we have the responsibility to change it. The intention could be, how do we make the world better?

If technology creates mass chaos, loneliness, more polarization, more election hacking, more inability to focus on the real issues, we're toast.

This is check mate on humanity.


ACOSTA: And Tristan Harris, the co-founder for the Center for Humane Technology, joins me now.

Tristan, in reference to what we learned about Instagram and the toxic effect on teenagers, you believe Facebook, which owns Instagram -- not all parents understand this -- is actually worse than big tobacco.

We've heard that comparison thrown around the last several days. Let's talk about that. What do you mean by that?

HARRIS: Big tobacco is pretty bad, but this is so much worse because children or teenagers, they have to use this.

For example, you and I, we probably use text messaging as our primary means to communicate, I'm guessing.



If you're a teenager, a lot of parents don't realize that Instagram might be your primary way of sending a message to someone. And in Frances Haugen's testimony, she says one of the thing Facebook

knows is that parents don't know how to give good advice to their children because they don't understand the dynamics.

Often times, they'll tell their kids, just don't use it, just turn it off or just delete that app.

But that would be like me telling you, Jim, delete the text messages app on your phone. You're not going to do that.

So that's what's so -- it's not tobacco. It's a system of sort of behavior modification.

I think the guy from "The Social Dilemma," with dread locks, called them behavior modification empires.

They are systems of A.I. pointed at children's brains trying to figure out, with a trillion dollars of computer power, when you scroll with your figure, how do I get you to stay as long as possible?


And for teenage girls, if you look at a food tip or dieting tip, it finds this whole catalog of videos that are basically eating disorders and anorexia videos.

It doesn't know why it works on kids, but it works. And that's what they show you.

ACOSTA: And it keeps those kids who are looking at those types of Web sites sticking around longer.

They're spending more time on their phones looking at these things because the algorithm, the technology has figured this is what you want to look at. So they're going to flood the zone with all of that stuff.

HARRIS: That's right.

ACOSTA: Let me read to you what Mark Zuckerberg said in response to the whistleblower. Let me put this up on screen.

He says, "The argument we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads and advertisers who consistently tell us they don't want their ad next to harmful or angry content."

What do you make of that, Tristan? You actually argue that Facebook isn't just harmful, it's the entire business model --

HARRIS: Correct.

ACOSTA: -- that is incompatible with democracy.

What do you make of that, what Zuckerberg said? And if you can expand on those comments. HARRIS: Sure. Sure. So, and what he said is ridiculous.

One thing that's really important about Frances Haugen's testimony, this isn't about her. This is tens of thousands of pages of Facebook's own research showing that they know that it causes mental health problems and eating disorders in kids.

They know it's worse than TikTok and Snapchat.

And then, on the political side, that Facebook knows that it made political parties more divisive.

A couple of examples. In Poland and in Spain, they interviewed political parties. And the party said, hey, Facebook, we know you change your algorithm.

Oh, everybody has a theory about how we changed our system. What's yours?

They say, no, no, we know you changed your algorithm because we, a political party in Poland, we used to be able to post a story about an agriculture policy. Say, hey, votes for us, this is what we're going to do.

Then, when you changed your system, we don't get traffic for that anymore.

The only time we get attention and clicks and eyeballs is if we say negative things about our opposing political parties. And we don't actually want to do that, but you changed your algorithm.

So what that shows is that we don't have the sort of invisible hand of the political marketplace in choosing, we're choosing our way through.

We have the digital hand of Mark Zuckerberg that has incentivized divisiveness and opposition and hatred and uncertainty over the kind of calm things that make our democracy work.

That's what makes it incompatible with democracy.

ACOSTA: So, I - it's unclear. I don't assume that you know everything that goes on behind closed doors, but I have to assume there are top Facebook executives that have gone to Mark Zuckerberg and have said, these things are happening, this is detrimental to society.


HARRIS: Many of them did.

ACOSTA: Many of them did.

Is he just standing in the way of this? Is it just Zuckerberg alone who is standing in the way?

HARRIS: He has -- people don't know this. He has something like 55 percent of ownership of the voting shares. So that's one of the reasons why the governance model is broken.

You can't have one person with this much of the ownership and governance power over a company that influences what three billion people think, feel and do every day.

Now here's what -- you asked this question. When the Facebook researchers say, when your own researchers are telling you this is dividing political parties and causing chaos, why wouldn't you change it?

He actually said -- it's in "The Wall Street Journal" article. You can look it up. He said, not if it impacts the engagement numbers.

And one of the reasons for that, Jim, is that he set up a whole company where all of the employees, they have to actually increase this engagement. That's how they get their bonuses.

So if he said, we're not going to do what's good for engagement, suddenly, that entire pyramid of all of those employees working for that one number going up, they're all going to leave because they're not going to get those numbers going up. They're all going to start going down.

ACOSTA: There's an incentive structure?

HARRIS: There's an incentive structure. That's why we say the business model is the problem.

The business model of "engagement at all costs" means that the things people have searched, the crazier sounding things, that's what goes viral. And virality is not safe for our country.

ACOSTA: That term "virality," it sounds so cold and clinical. But it's how these kids get hooked.

Let me ask you, let's look at the cover of "Time" magazine: "Delete Facebook." Is what is being asked of people. There in that prompt over the face of Mark Zuckerberg.

Why do you think -- just to push back a little bit -- I suppose maybe the Facebook people would say this, so forgive me for saying this.

HARRIS: Go ahead.

ACOSTA: But they would say, oh, you know, over the years, parents and the media and people in government have worried about kids being corrupted by music, violent video games.


ACOSTA: And that puts us again -- this is you and me, just not getting what young kids like and what they want to do.

HARRIS: So let me seal that. People say --

(CROSSTALK) ACOSTA: By the way, that is not how I feel.


ACOSTA: But I do think it is what they would say.

HARRIS: Of course.


Let's be really clear. Baked into human nature is we care about what other people think of us.

Baked into human nature is we compare ourselves to others. We compare our looks, especially teenage girls in developmental times of their lives. This is baked into human nature.

But it's another thing when you rope children into an environment where basically your job as a designer is to create as much social pressure on this person as possible because that's what caused them to come back.

Why did they invent the follower account? Their children want as many followers as possible. Why do kids -- it's an intrinsic part of human nature.

Why did they invent the follower account model? So that there's a reason to go back because you say, oh, I got 20 new followers, I should come back.

Their job is to invent new reasons to keep coming back.

We've never had a trillion dollars of A.I. -- Facebook is a trillion- dollar company, which is crazy. And they've got an A.I. pointed at your brain to calculate the next thing to that that will get you to stay there longer.

That was not true of the magazine that you're doing this with. They didn't rope you into social obligations with strangers who bully you.

So much so that, on Monday morning, in the classroom, the teacher has to spend three hours -- we've talked to parents and teachers.

Teachers will tell us they have to spend the first two to three hours in the morning clearing up the drama that took place over the weekend because of social media --


ACOSTA: That is a huge part of kid's lives these days. And their whole night can get ruined based on what somebody said on Instagram. The fact somebody posted a picture of them and their friends and this friend wasn't invited.

I mean, the way it crushes the humanity of young kids and teenagers these days, it's so awful. It's the thing that scares me the most as a parent.

But I have to ask you about the political dynamics of this.


ACOSTA: Trump obviously wants to get back on social media. He's been fighting to get back on Facebook and Twitter. He was kicked off of those things because he incited an insurrection.

How much damage would that do, in your view, knowing what you know, if he were allowed back on?

HARRIS: I don't really think about whether one person or another if they're on it or not. What I'm more concerned with is the systemic nature of the platform.

I think it subtracts from the equation. Forget that.

Imagine we're just talking about -- we were just talking about how the mechanisms of the system work. Take vaccines. If you're a person -- this is true by the way for Twitter, Facebook, the other ones.

If you believe in vaccines, you click on pro-vaccine articles, it says, oh, you must like that. I'm going to send you more videos of how the vaccine is safe, how it's wonderful. And here's video after video of unvaccinated people dying.

But if you're a non-vaccination person, and anti-coercion person, what you see in your videos is, here's why the vaccine isn't safe. You click on that. Then it shows you video after video of vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections.

So each side becomes exponentially more convinced they're right while exponentially decreasing empathy for what the other side has seen.


HARRIS: Notice that's not part of whether one person is on Twitter or not, or Facebook. It's just how it works.


Tristan, you've given us so much to think about.

If these social media companies could just help people get vaccinated -- I think you're onto something right there -- it would be so great.

And if they have the technology, they have the know how to get us hooked on these things, they damned well know how to get us, you know, to the information to get us vaccinated and protect ourselves and so on.

Tristan Harris, thank you so much. Great having you.

HARRIS: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: We appreciate it.

You're looking at live pictures from the island of La Palma, Spain, as more buildings are engulfed by rivers of lava. We're going to take you there in just a moment. Details ahead.



ACOSTA: Take a look at these pictures coming out of Spain. Red hot lava spewing from a volcano on the island of La Palma. The volcano, which started erupting in September, has destroyed roughly 1,000 buildings.

At least 6,000 residents were forced to flee their homes on the island last month. And this new lava flow is within the same area. We'll bring you the latest on that when it comes in.

Why are some stories omitted from history? An all-new new season of "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling tries to find out.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE" (voice-over): By 1982, one in five Detroit residents were out of a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's few and far between. You hiring?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I can say is, move somewhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suddenly, after a lifetime of well-paying jobs, where they could afford a house, two cars, a recreational vehicle, a summer cottage, suddenly, it was wiped out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only answer is charity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People became destitute. The frustration turned into anger. People want to know, why is this happening to me? Who can I blame?

In the beginning, the workers blamed the companies. Factories blamed the workers. The politicians blamed each other. And in the end, they kind of all reached a consensus. Let's blame Japan.


ACOSTA: And all new season of "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling premiers tomorrow night at 10:00 here on CNN.

Who was the woman behind the princess? The all-new CNN original series, "Diana," seeks to find out.


PRINCESS DIANA: I was always different. That I was going somewhere different. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was going to marry her dashing prince like

all the stories she'd read.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was iconic. She was box office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to dance with the princess tonight?

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: If she'd like me to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pre-Diana, there was no interest in the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anybody has grown up in public like Diana has.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana provided a very public model for defiance and truthfulness.

PRINCESS DIANA: Isn't it normal to feel angry and want to change a situation?

I was able to recognize a determination to survive.

ANNOUNCER: A new CNN original series, "DIANA," premieres tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.