Twitter bans RT and Sputnik ads amid election interference fears

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People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw September 27, 2013.
Reuters

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Twitter is to donate all money earned from the outlets

Twitter is banning two of Russia’s biggest media outlets from buying advertising amid fears they attempted to interfere with the 2016 US election.

The ban on advertising from Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, and all linked accounts, was “effective immediately”.

US authorities say both act as “a platform for Kremlin messaging”.

The social media giant will donate an estimated $1.9m (£1.4m) made from the outlets into research on Twitter’s use in “civic engagement and elections”.

  • Twitter promises more ad transparency

In a statement, Twitter said the decision “was based on the retrospective work we’ve been doing around the 2016 US election and the US intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government”.

The statement, published on the social media platform’s blog, continued: “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.”

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan responded by accusing the social network of pushing them to “spend big” during the election.

Twitter is one of a number of companies keen to show they can self-regulate after it was found that Russian-backed groups were exploiting its ad platform.

Russia has repeatedly denied claims that it interfered in the US elections.

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