Friday, 24 November, 2017

Twitter will ban two Russian government-linked media outlets from advertising

An example of what a future political ad may look like An example of what a future political ad may look like
Heather Davidson | 29 October, 2017, 02:55

When Twitter banned ads from Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik on Thursday, citing the outlets' reported attempts to interfere with last year's US election "on behalf of the Russian government", RT quickly responded with a denial.

Twitter said it has made a decision to donate the $1.9 million that it projects to have earned from RT global advertising since 2011 to support external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections.

Earlier, Twitter explained that the decision to remove advertisements from the pages of the television channel and the news agency was based on check of reports on 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".

Twitter on Thursday said RT and Sputnik's implementation of "state-sponsored Russian efforts to interfere with and disrupt" the election "is not something we want on Twitter".

Twitter on Thursday morning announced that it will ban advertising from accounts associated with Kremlin-supported news organizations Russia Today and Sputnik.

Practically speaking, cutting ties with Russian-linked advertisers is both the most visible and least effective way for Twitter to institute long-term change.

The RT and Twitter teams held a number of direct negotiations, during which we brainstormed potential media strategy ahead of American elections in 2016. Amy Klobuchar introduced a bill called the Honest Ads Act, which would create federal disclosure regulations for Internet companies in order to prevent foreign interference in future elections and make online political ads more transparent. The company said Thursday it would ban Russia Today and Sputnik from advertising on its platform.

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 USA election campaign.

Twitter, Facebook and Google's general counsels are scheduled to testify in Washington D.C.in the House and Senate intelligence committees next week about how Russian involvement in USA elections affected their platforms. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was disappointed in Twitter's response after the company's last presentation a month ago.

The ban will not apply to any other advertisers, Twitter said.

"We, of course, will be watching to see just how complete and accurate that testimony is in relation to RT", the site's post said.

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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