Twitter Bans Ads From Russia Today and Sputnik

Twitter Will Now Label Political Ads

Russian state-owned television station RT says Twitter had pushed it to spend millions on advertising ahead of the 2016 USA presidential election.

The development comes the same day that the San Francisco-based company announces a ban on advertising from Russian government-connected news services, Russia Today and Sputnik.

Dorsey didn't say so, but his announcement looks like a response to a tweet a couple of hours earlier from RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, outlining how his company approached RT in 2016 to advertise on the platform.

In late September, Twitter said it proactively shared with committee staff a round-up of ads that three RT accounts - RT_com, RT_America, and ActualidadRT - targeted to the USA markets in 2016. Warner had called Twitter's first interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee "frankly inadequate" and "deeply disappointing".

RT slammed Twitter's move. "Sputnik news channels are followed by people who are exhausted of the mainstream and who are looking for an alternative perspective on the news".

Twitter said they would spend the $1.9 million in advertising revenue earned from RT and spend it on "external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation, with an initial focus on elections and automation".

However, Twitter also said it might report a profit in the upcoming fourth quarter.

The pitch RT published on Friday shows Twitter proposing a deal that specifically included a $1.5 million budget for boosting RT's exposure on the platform during the US election campaign.

Twitter said they "are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter". Both RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik will be able to remain as Twitter users, but will not be able to advertise.

Moreover, agressive sales pitches are pretty routine at social media companies, and RT is likely being selective in what it's making public-so either way, we're not seeing the whole picture.

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