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Twitter bans Russia Today and Sputnik from advertising

28 October 2017

Twitter in early September said it had suspended about 200 Russia-linked accounts and found almost 2,000 ads placed by RT's television group in its investigation of Russia's alleged efforts to influence last year's election.

Twitter's decision to suspend advertising by Russia Today, or RT, and the news agency Sputnik is "effective immediately", the company announced in a statement.

Social media giant Twitter has banned advertisements from accounts linked to media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik.

The web-based social networking goliath will give an expected $1.9m (£1.4m) produced using the outlets into inquire about on Twitter's utilization in "community engagement and decisions".

RT and Sputnik will be allowed to remain regular users of Twitter - in other words, to post with normal accounts - but they won't be allowed to pay to promote them.

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The statement added that the almost $2 million in revenue in received from the Russian ads will fund "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".

Twitter will be joined by Google and Facebook in testifying before USA lawmakers on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

She added that "retaliatory measures will naturally follow", a message echoed by RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

"Nonetheless, you know, if we have foreign countries that are seeking to interfere in our elections, I think we need to take appropriate action in response", he said.

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

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"I never thought that Twitter is under the control of the USA security services - it seemed like a conspiracy theory".

The spokesman hopes that Twitter will sort out the situation and conclude that the work of free media, including RT and Sputnik, "cannot be qualified as meddling in the electoral process of the United States and other countries". "This matter has not been taken to court and there has been no trial".

"It would be more helpful if Twitter focused on bots rather than RT and Sputnik", he said, referring to anonymous accounts and automated accounts.

"It's a little vague what the rules are", he said. "They [social media companies] have to show they know where the money is coming from".

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Twitter bans Russia Today and Sputnik from advertising