Dana Priest, James Jacoby, Anya Bourg, October 28, 2018, Washington Post
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, and foreign guests march in downtown Kiev on Feb. 22, 2015, around the time Poroshenko’s government had been urging Facebook to stop the Kremlin’s spreading of misinformation. (Sergei Chuzavkov/AP)
KIEV, Ukraine — In the spring of 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was desperate for Mark Zuckerberg’s help. His government had been urging Facebook to stop the Kremlin’s spreading of misinformation on the social network to foment distrust in his new administration and to promote support of Russia’s invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine.
To get Zuckerberg’s attention, the president posted a question for a town hall meeting at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters. There, a moderator read it aloud.
“Mark, will you establish a Facebook office in Ukraine?” the moderator said, chuckling, according to a video of the assembly. The room of young employees rippled with laughter. But the government’s suggestion was serious: It believed that a Kiev office, staffed with people familiar with Ukraine’s political situation, could help solve Facebook’s high-level ignorance about Russian information warfare.