Return to Transcripts main page


Facebook Celebrates 10 Years; "American Promise"; Christie: I Knew Nothing about Bridge Closure; Puppy Bowl Steals the Show

Aired February 4, 2014 - 10:30   ET


CHRIS COX, V.P. OF PROJECT, FACEBOOK: I mean, the news feed launch was pretty crazy. I spent with a bunch of people -- we worked really hard on making news feed. It took us almost a year to build. And we were pretty naive around how it would be received. Obviously, people were like, whoa, this is a lot of change.


COX: And there was like a protest organizing outside. So we had to like go out the back entrance.

SEGALL: You had to go out the back.


COX: Yes.


COX: And it was just one of those things I look back on right now and it is just hard to believe.

SEGALL: Since then, there have been a lot of landmarks that are hard to believe. Six billion likes per day; 7.8 trillion messages sent using Facebook and 1.2 billion monthly active users -- a far cry from their early days.

MEREDITH CHIN, FACEBOOK EMPLOYEE SINCE 2006: There were no chairs, no tables. They had to find like a bean bag chair and the kid interviewing me who is now a good friend, but he had bare feet on. And like, it was just I was like what am I getting myself into?

SEGALL: Over the past 10 years, Facebook moved from this small office to here and here and now to this sprawling campus here in Menlo Park.

When we talk about the future of Facebook, the word we just keep hearing is "mobile".

COX: Yes.

SEGALL: When did you guys know Mobile was going to be so big? And what does the future look like when it comes to Mobile on Facebook?

COX: It really happened a couple of years ago. We sort of instituted all of these rules in the company. Like whenever we show our products to each other, we need to start with the mobile version.

SEGALL: But the future of Facebook might look a little different. Alongside the traditional app on your phone, you might start seeing a variety of apps created by the company.

COX: We already have Facebook, we have Instagram messenger. We just announced Paper which is a more immersive way of looking at your news feed.

SEGALL: Paper, Facebook's latest app, rates your news feed based on your interest. But a challenge with the company will be continuing to grow at such a rapid pace. They are starting to saturate the Internet-connected world.

COX: When you just look out over the next three years, there's going to be a lot more people with their first computer and their first phone and their first access to the Internet. And one of the things we're really excited about is making the access to the Internet in general a lot more affordable.

SEGALL: It will be a challenge and not Facebook's only challenge. The company now competes with an onslaught of apps like Snap Chat and Twitter.

What do you look forward to for the company?

CHIN: I think it is the next billion.


SEGALL: You know that's not going to be an easy one, Carol but they are invested in doing it. And I also spoke to Chris about artificial intelligence. There is a group of small -- a small group at Facebook of folks working on artificial intelligence and making the technology even smarter. Facebook getting to know you even better.

Chris said they have a lot of cool and interesting data that they're exploring. So that will be interesting in the future. And I also asked him, I said, you know I love that asking entrepreneurs this. What keeps you up at night?

And he said really, it's trying to maintain what makes Facebook so successful, which was this move fast and break things mentality and being scrappy. And also they have divided some of the groups into smaller groups where they are building out different mobile apps and they are trying to maintain that ethos now that they have over 6,000 employees and they are a publicly company -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Wow. We'll have time to change. Laurie Segall reporting live from San Francisco.

SEGALL: I know.

COSTELLO: Thanks so much.

Checking our "Top Stories" at 32 minutes past the hour. Bill Gates stepping down as Microsoft's chairman after 33 years. The world's second richest man will be taking on a new role as tech adviser in the company he helped found in 1975. Microsoft is now the world's largest software company. Its board of director -- Satya Nadella, that's the company's new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer who is retiring.

The Justice Department will help investigate to the serious death of a Texas physical therapist after CNN's reporting on the case. Alfred Bright was missing for nearly three weeks before his family found his mutilated body after investigators gave up searching for him last November. His death was ruled an accident from drug use. But Bright's relatives say they never saw him use any drugs.

Investigators now say actor Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew $1,200 from this supermarket ATM near his New York home before he died. One witness says he say Hoffman withdraw money while talking to two man wearing messenger bags. Investigators are tracing Hoffman's final hours by using phone records, credit cards and his ATM transactions. They want to know where he was and who he was with before he died of an apparent drug overdose.

The Republican National Committee is doing something it's never done before. It's making its first ad buy to celebrate the accomplishments of black Republicans in honor of black history month, February. Today, in Washington, the RNC will honor people like Condoleezza Rice and current Senator Tim Scott at his second annual Trailblazer Award.

Joining me now is the event's co-host Joseph Phillips a writer, commentator and conservative actor who you may remember for his role of -- for his role Martin Kendall on "The Cosby Show." Welcome Joseph.


COSTELLO: You don't look very much different. It's amazing.

PHILLIPS: Well thanks to my wife and kids they keep me young. Although the hair is a bit different I think.

COSTELLO: I know but we all have our crosses to bear as we age right?

PHILLIPS: Yes absolutely.

COSTELLO: You wanted us to identify you as a conservative actor. Why?

PHILLIPS: Well, as you well know, every Republican is not a conservative. And the other thing is I'm not a spokesperson for the Republican Party which is -- which is something else altogether.


PHILLIPS: But I am a conservative.

COSTELLO: And I know that the Republicans have been reaching out to the African-American community trying to establish a better relationship with it. But every time it seems the RNC takes two steps forward it's one step back. I'm sure you remember last December the RNC sent out an unfortunate tweet saying quote, "Today, we remember Rosa Park's bold stand and her role in ending racism."

Now that tweet spark quite a backlash with many accusing the RNC of saying racism was over. The group later clarified the tweet. But it's just one example of how critics say the Republican Party tries to reach out to black America but doesn't have a clue. So do you think it's the message or the messenger?

PHILLIPS: Well, no. Our message, the message of conservatives and the Republican Party, that of freedom, economic freedom, political freedom, religious freedom, civil freedom, I think is the right message. And it's a message that resonates with people in all communities.

Personally, I think that that tweet and the whole hubbub surrounding that was much ado about nothing. But it does point to the fact that the Republican Party has had a problem reaching out. And I happen to be one of those who had been -- who's been a big critic. I mean I think that you might say the Republican Party has been borrowing from the Denver Broncos playbook and has had about as much success. So I've been a critic and a skeptic.

But what the Republican Party is doing now is a bit different. They have actually put dollars behind the initiative here. So I came out. I said, "well let me see what's going on." Because we've heard about Republican engagement in the past and as you point out, sometimes it hasn't really been all that it has been made out to be.

So I wanted to come out and I wanted to see.

COSTELLO: But -- but when you make a gaffe like someone made in that tweet, it just -- takes it so far back, because it went everywhere.

PHILLIPS: Well, Carol really let's -- I don't want to spend too much time on this but what was really the issue with the tweet? They honored Rosa Parks. They didn't say anything bad about Rosa Parks. The woman had a key role in the civil rights movement. Of course, no one is implying by that that racism is over.

I think that what happens sometimes is that the left and those in the media, you know they pick at things. The Republican Party leaves itself open, quite frankly, sometimes to that. But I think that's a different conversation from what's happening today, which is the Republican Party honoring past black Republican trailblazers looking forward to the future. Actually, buying ads now, reaching out into the community, not just during election cycles, not just during an election year but trying to establish relationships year-round, actually being --



PHILLIPS: -- becoming active in the community. And those things are new and they are different and I think that that's far more worth our time and conversation than you know picking apart a tweet that was actually celebrating an American hero.

COSTELLO: Well you have a long way to go, because you will remember, Tim Scott, the only sitting African-American Senator was not invited to speak at the MLK anniversary. Scott is a Republican. He has been called an Uncle Tom by some black civic leaders. Ben Jealous said Scott doesn't believe in civil rights. So do you feel shunned by your community in choosing to be a Republican?

PHILLIPS: Well, Carol, I would ask, really, who -- who has the problem? The NAACP, Ben Jealous, black Republicans or Tim Scott. Who is open-minded and who is closed-minded? Who is reaching out and who is closing doors? And I think that I mean just based on the little bit you said, I think the answer is obvious. It's not black Republicans.


COSTELLO: Well on the other hand -- on the other hand, during that same MLK event, Republican leaders, like Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor were invited but they chose not to attend. So someone has got to extend the olive branch. And should it be you or them?

PHILLIPS: Well again I'm not a spokesperson for any of those people. I'm not a spokesperson for the Republican Party. I believe, quite sincerely that Republicans have extended the olive branch only to be rebuffed. I would also suggest that just peering at the NAACP is not a true measure of one's involvement in the black community.

I think actually being grass roots, hands-on, engaging in people at the community level is far more significant than whether you show up at an event by an organization that quite frankly is outdated, perhaps, certainly not on message and certainly not attending to the actual needs of the black community anymore.


PHILLIPS: And is now a political arm of the Democratic Party. So I think that what -- what is happening now is far more significant than whether or not you show up at the NAACP and deliver a speech, a political speech in saying what?

COSTELLO: I understand. Joseph Phillips, thank you so much for being with me. I appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.



COSTELLO: In our "American Journey", an extraordinary story about race and education. It's rare that we get to see a child literally grow up in front of the camera in a span of a single film. But in a remarkable documentary called "American Promise", that's exactly what we see, two young African-American boys growing up while the cameras roll documenting in sometimes painful details their struggle as they navigate a new school while blending in is virtually impossible. Anderson Cooper has more.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): It is 1999 when we meet best friends, Idris Brewster and Seun Summers, both just 5 years old, both excited to start kindergarten. They have been selected to attend the Dalton School, a private school located on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a school I went to as a child.

Idris' parents, Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster, decided to document the boys' academic journey. As a result we get to know these boys and their families in a truly intimate way over the next 12 years of their lives.

JOE BREWSTER, FATHER OF IDRIS: Dalton will open doors for him for the rest of his life.

COOPER: That is the hope for both families. But in time the boys find themselves struggling not only with the typical growing pains, but also with issues of race, class and gender.


J. BREWSTER: They decided our son is a problem. He is not a problem at home. He is not a problem in the community. He is a problem at Dalton. The question is what it is about Idris that makes him disruptive.

IDRIS BREWSTER, FORMER STUDENT, THE DALTON SCHOOL: The emcees always have this thing where people have to dance with the girls is one part and I don't like that part because I don't get to dance with the girls. They usually say no. I don't know why. They just say no, which makes me feel bad.

COOPER: A quality education is a priority for both families but at what cost.

MARTHA EDELSON, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR CURRICULUM, THE DALTON SCHOOL: There is a cultural disconnect between independent schools and African-American boys. We see a high rate of kids not being successful and the question is why.

COOPER: The boys part ways at high school with Seun leaving Dalton for a predominantly African-American school. But their journey doesn't end there.

This film offers an inside look into two families of color and the everyday challenges and choices they face all questions raised aren't answered but the door for critical discussion for all of us left wide open.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, New York.




COSTELLO: A surprising revelation from New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. He admitted his office has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department -- that Justice Department, the U.S. Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder. As you know, Christie is accused of causing a huge traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retaliation and for withholding Hurricane Sandy funds from the mayor of Hoboken.

Christie appeared on a local New Jersey radio station and doubled down on his claims that all of that was done without his knowledge or approval.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The fact of the matter is I've been very clear about this. Before these lanes were closed, I knew nothing about it. I didn't plan it. I didn't authorize it. I didn't approve it. I knew nothing about it.


COSTELLO: John Reitmeyer is the state house bureau reporter for the "Bergen Record". He joins me now from New York. Good morning, John.


COSTELLO: So the mayor -- or the governor rather -- appeared on that radio show. How did callers then accept his appearance?

REITMEYER: I think that's a good question. Some of the calls were actually not even about the George Washington Bridge controversy. He took calls on some vote (ph) tech matters, some other ancillary issues that I guess New Jerseyans are also worried about.

He was asked some pointed questions about the bridge controversy and he seemed to answer them directly telling them that the key issue here is that he didn't know beforehand.

COSTELLO: Interesting. So two of Christie's former allies are taking the fifth, first it was David Wildstein, now it's Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff. The governor says he wants people involved to share information but that he understands their rights. What does Bridget Kelly's decision say to you?

REITMEYER: Well, I think that's something that's very interesting given that she was a close aide to the governor. And that she is saying her testimony and also providing documents would potentially put her in a situation of self-incrimination. So that's somebody that is very close to the governor. We also know that David Wildstein already has pleaded the fifth and hasn't provided any information. So those are the two key figures -- right. Bridget Kelly sent the e-mail that said, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" and David Wildstein received it and said, "Got it." Those are the two key figures.

The governor has been framing this as the Port Authority or David Wildstein's scheme. But it is Bridget Kelly who sent that e-mail saying, time for some traffic problems.

COSTELLO: And she could be charged criminally in this. But I know the governor was asked about that on that radio show and he gave kind of an interesting answer. A non-answer, I should say.

REITMEYER: Well, that's been one of the key things. If you talk to people in New Jersey about this, is when the governor fired Bridget Kelly, he didn't first he said ask her what she knew about this, why did you send that e-mail, some questions that a lot of people in New Jersey have.

I think that's one of the lingering questions here is the governor has said he wants to get to the bottom of this. There is an internal investigation and yet, Chris Christie is a former U.S. Attorney and apparently, he didn't ask one of the key figures in this matter about her role.

COSTELLO: John Reitmeyer with the "Bergen Record", thanks so much for being with me this morning.

REITMEYER: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: I'll be right back.



COSTELLO: The Seahawks and the Broncos weren't the only ones grabbing all the attention on Sunday. Some of our furry friends got in on the action as well complete with a half-time show.

Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quick, name the MVP not of the Super Bowl. We mean the MVP of the Puppy Bowl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He breaks for the sideline, crosses the 40, the 30, the 20.

MOOS (on camera): Touchdown.

Actually, he scored four touchdowns, but who's counting? Not the pups.

(voice-over): Actually, the 66 pups reminded us of the Denver Broncos.


MOOS: Except for when the dogs scored.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's in. Touchdown.

MOOS: No, even the Broncos did just plop down in the end zone and quit. Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl was just one of the other bowl games. It was Hallmark's Kitten Bowl. Their kitties had names like Tom Cat Brady and Feline Manning.

And we can't forget the Fish Bowl. Four hours of watching a goldfish mope around a bowl, joined occasionally by a guest fish on Nat Geo Wild.

But it was the Puppy Bowl that most mirrored the big game.

(on camera): The Puppy Bowl even featured a little trash talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That kind of aggressive behavior could get her ejected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's holding.

MOOS: Instead of Bruno Mars, the half-time show featured the keyboard cat. This updated version of keyboard cat was actually playing a Bruno Mars song.

Though Bruno's impressive footwork put the pups to shame, when one kicked the ball over the goal line --


MOOS: -- all of the dogs come from shelters, and all but two have been adopted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Warren (ph) on his way to becoming this year's most valuable pup? He's at the 30, the 20, the 10, he scores again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, you're a Puppy Bowl X MVP.

MOOS: But how did former Jets quarterback Joe Namath get mixed up in the Puppy Bowl? It was the fur he wore to the Super Bowl coin toss. Broadway Joe was compared to Ron Burgundy. He was compared to the IKEA monkey. But one of the more often repeated tweets was that Joe Namath's coat is made from the losers of the Puppy Bowl.

Talk about a personal foul.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dropping the Chihuahua.

MOOS: -- New York.


COSTELLO: That's terrible. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: So was she molested by Woody Allen or was she brain washed by Mia Farrow? Or was it something else entirely? Is that couple's adopted daughter, her detailed account of a sexual assault a made-up memory or a bona fide rape? Purposely, was that memory planted in the mind of a 7-year-old? The filmmaker's lawyer is making his case. Our experts are going to weigh in.

Also this hour, what happened in the final hours before Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead with a needle sticking out of his arm? Why were there six ATM withdrawals, one after the other, totaling $1,200?


BANFIELD: And who were the two men with him, wearing messenger bags at the time?

A former teacher is under arrest, accused of befriending and assaulting girls in their middle school class, facing 16 counts of child sex abuse. But is it possible that a YouTube video could be enough to convict?