Oct 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook suspends account of alleged Russian agent with ties to Giuliani

Illustration of a hand in gloves and a winter jacket on a computer mouse

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani accused by the U.S. of being "an active Russian agent for over a decade," for election interference activity.

Why it matters: The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September for "alleged efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election," including by releasing edited audio tapes and other unsubstantiated claims to denigrate Joe Biden and other officials.

  • The Washington Post first reported that Derkach has been working with Giuliani to gather negative information against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
  • Giuliani told NBC News last month that he was unaware that Derkach was a Russian agent and downplayed his work with the Ukrainian lawmaker.

What they're saying: "We removed this account and this Page for violating our policy against the use of our platform by people engaged in election-focused influence operations," Facebook said in a statement to The Daily Beast, which first reported the story.

The big picture: The suspension comes as Facebook continues to crack down on misinformation, particularly around the upcoming presidential elections.

  • In September, Facebook announced they took down fake accounts and pages linked to Russian agents who were associated with election interference in the past.
  • The platform also took steps last week to limit the circulation of a controversial New York Post story about Hunter Biden, which was based on what the paper said were emails provided to it by Giuliani.

Go deeper: Facebook takes down Russian misinformation operation.

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