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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.

Updated 44 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

57 mins ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

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