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Twitter bans two Russian media outlets from advertising on its platform

27 October, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
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Twitter cited a report produced in January by US intelligence agencies that concluded the Russian government attempted to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election. Twitter specifically alleges that such retrospective work shows that RT and Sputnik "attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government".

Facebook and Google have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms past year to buy ads and post politically divisive content.

Twitter said it will still allow RT, formerly called Russia Today, and Sputnik to remain as users on the platform, but they will not be eligible to buy ads.

Sputnik was not immediately available for comment.

"This decision was based on the retrospective work we've been doing around the 2016 USA election and the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government". (TWTR) announced steps to dramatically increase transparency for all ads on Twitter, including political ads and issue-based ads.

We're donating all projected earnings ($1.9mm) to support external research into the use of Twitter in elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation. Specifically, Twitter admitted that it sold ads for accounts connected to RT, which it acknowledged has strong links to the Russian government.

The tech company has handed over several thousand ads to three congressional committees and shut down 470 pages and accounts in response to USA lawmakers' probes into Russian meddling in the election.




Twitter's move may put some pressure on Google and Facebook to pull similar advertising from their sites.

Twitter says that Russia Today spent $274,100 in US -based advertisements in 2016.

"It is particularly regrettable that now US media operating in Russia will feel the tender response of the Russian authorities".

The article also quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying his government would react to us restrictions on Russian media "swiftly and symmetrically".

The Russian foreign ministry said the ban was a "gross violation" by the United States of the guarantees of free speech.

Twitter said Thursday that it was taking $1.9 million that the company projected that it had earned from RT advertising since 2011, including $274,000 spent during the USA election, and donating the funds to external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections, including malicious automation.

Sputnik, a news agency, said on its website that Twitter's move was regrettable, "especially now that Russian Federation had vowed retaliatory measures against the US media". Though the RT claims to be an independent editorial operation, the U.S. Justice Department recently required the company to register as a foreign agent.

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