Twitter Bans Ads From Russian State Media, Citing Election Interference Efforts

28 October, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • BRITAIN-INTERNET-COMPANY-TWITTER

"RT and Sputnik may remain organic users on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules".

The actions are justified with the U.S. administration's conclusion that the two media have "attempted to influence the USA presidential election in 2016 on behalf of the Russian government".

"We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter", the blog post stated.

The Russian effort to influence the election is said to have consisted of several hundred fake Twitter accounts and about $100,000 worth of Facebook ads promoting "divisive" causes like Black Lives Matter.

US intelligence community that named RT and Sputnik as contributors to the "influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and worldwide audiences".

The decision is effective immediately, Twitter said.

Twitter's ban on adverts from Russian media was motivated by Washington's "deep prejudices" against Moscow and was setting a worrying precedent for the company to treat its clients unequally, the Kremlin said on Friday. "It is especially unfortunate that the american media in Russian Federation, now, are likely to feel the softness of the retaliatory measures of Russian Federation".

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told state media that the move was a violation of global laws that "guarantee the freedom of speech".

"This is the result of pressure from the American establishment and intelligence services", she said, adding, "Retaliatory measures will naturally follow".

Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, testified earlier this month before Congress as part of the USA investigations of Moscow for purported electoral interference.

Twitter announced Thursday, shortly after Simonyan's remarks, that it would no longer run ads from Russian-funded news outlets RT and Sputnik. "It is particularly regrettable that now US media operating in Russia will feel the tender response of the Russian authorities".

Yet, Russian entities did use Twitter's ad network to reach USA citizens, the company revealed. In the US, RT employees have to register as "foreign agents", and in the United Kingdom, the channel has been reprimanded for misleading its viewers.

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