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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.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Why some Republican governors oppose anti-trans bills

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Chistopher Goodney (Bloomberg), Drew Angerer, Stephen Yang/Getty Images

Some Republican governors have found themselves at odds with their own party over a record number of bills targeting transgender children.

Why it matters: Social conservatives see a winning issue in bills to restrict trans students' participation in sports and access to health care, but the sudden push has met resistance even from some staunch conservatives.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
10 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

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