Newstalk
Newstalk

17.31 26 Oct 2017


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Twitter has announced that it will ban ads from the Russian news organisations RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik.

The decision to 'off-board' advertisements from the two state-controlled outlets comes in the wake of alleged Russian efforts to interfere in last year's presidential elections.

Both outlets were named in a report on the alleged interference. The report was published in January by US intelligence agencies.

In a statement, Twitter said it did make the decision to ban advertising from the two outlets lightly, and said it was looking to "protect the integrity of the user experience".

The ban is effective immediately, and applies to all accounts owned by the two publications.

The social media company said: "Early this year, the US intelligence community named RT and Sputnik as implementing state-sponsored Russian efforts to interfere with and disrupt the 2016 Presidential election, which is not something we want on Twitter.

"This decision is restricted to these two entities based our internal investigation of their behavior as well as their inclusion in the January 2017 [intelligence] report. This decision does not apply to any other advertisers. RT and Sputnik may remain organic users on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules."

RT quickly hit back at Twitter over the ban, indicating that the company had approached them and asked them to "spend big on 2016 US election".

In an op-ed, RT's deputy editor Kirill Karnovich-Valua wrote: "[Twitter's proposal] was developed around promoting RT’s US election coverage on the micro-blogging platform. This proposal was eventually declined by RT."

Editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan also commented on the situation on Twitter itself: 

January's US intelligence report from the CIA, FBI and NSA included a heavy focus on the alleged role of the two Russian media outlets during the election campaign.

The report claimed: "Russia’s state-run propaganda machine - comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls - contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.

"State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton."


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