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Top lawyers for Google, Twitter, and Facebook (from left to right) testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

The head of Ukraine's presidential administration, Dmytro Shymkiv, told the Financial Times that his country's government warned Facebook and U.S. officials in 2015 that Russia was using "aggressive behavior" to spread disinformation on social media in an "information war." Shymkiv said Facebook's response was that they're an "open platform" that allows everyone to communicate.

Why it matters: The Ukrainian assertions suggest that Russian fake news was detected much earlier than the tech giants have so far let on. Axios reported yesterday that a former FBI agent had detected Russia's use of fake news and automated bots in 2014. The investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and big tech's role has come to a head this week with interrogations of Google, Twitter and Facebook by both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Facebook's defense:

  • Richard Allen, Facebook's vice president of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa said the conversations the team had with the Ukrainian government in 2014 and 2015 were about Facebook's "handling of reports by Russians to get Ukrainian content taken down from our platform, not about fake news or attempts to spread messages."
  • He added that the reported behavior they observed "bore no resemblance" to information operations they saw in connection to the 2016 election.
  • "The Ukrainian government has more recently raised the issue of fake news with us but this was only in 2017 after the U.S. election," he said.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Workers try to divert water into drains as rain pours down on Oct. 24 in Marin City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A major storm system was pummeling Northern California and parts of the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains overnight.

The big picture: "Atmospheric river" storms, associated with a record-strong "bomb cyclone" offshore from the Pacific Northwest, have brought flooding and mudslides to parts of California that were razed by recent wildfires and in severe drought. It's also caused widespread power outages in California and Washington state.

4 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.