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Russian government slams Twitter over ad ban on RT and Sputnik

October 27, 2017

The Russian government blasted Twitter for its decision earlier this week to ban advertising on RT and Sputnik.

Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted a statement on Twitter and Facebook slamming the social media network.

(Maria Zakharova/Twitter)

“We view this as a further aggressive step aimed at blocking the activities of Russian TV channel Russia Today and the result of the pressure of part of the American intelligence, and the response will naturally follow,” she wrote in the post. “It is clear that the obstruction of the Russian media, including through the arsenal of intelligence services, shows a flagrant violation by the U.S. of both international and domestic legislation guaranteeing freedom of expression. Joining this campaign by private corporations is indicative of an unprecedented attack by American media outlets.”

Earlier this week, Twitter wrote in a blog post saying that they made the decision to “off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, effective immediately.”

“This decision was based on the retrospective work we’ve been doing around the 2016 U.S. 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,” the statement read.

“Twitter has also decided to take the $1.9 million we are projected to have earned from RT global advertising since they became an advertiser in 2011, which includes the $274,100 in 2016 U.S.-based advertising that we highlighted in our September 28 blog post, and donate those funds to support 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,” the statement continued.

Twitter did not ban RT and Sputnik from the social media network. They can still tweet and share information on Twitter.