Just moments ago, it was announced that Twitter will be banning all ad spends from two Kremlin-controlled news organizations, Sputnik and RT.com. The move, which was just announced by Twitter this afternoon, will also see a total of $1.9 million in past ad revenue from RT donated to charity. This all comes just a week before representatives from Twitter are scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify on possible Russian influence during the 2016 election.
“Twitter has made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, effective immediately,” the company wrote in blog post. ”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.”
Almost immediately after this move was announced, the Editor-in-chief of RT, Margarita Simonyan, fought back, ironically through a tweet, in what appears to be a threat towards Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.
“Hope @jack won’t forget to tell @congressdotgov how @Twitter pitched @RT_com to spend big $$s on US elex ad campaign,” Simonyan tweeted earlier today.
While the tweet itself is vague, it does seem to suggest that unless Dorsey tells Congress what she wants him to, there will be a price to pay. Of course this is up to interpretation, however.
The Russian Foreign Minister Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, also chimed in with what appears to be another threat towards the social media network. “The move by social media company Twitter to ban two Russian news outlets from placing advertisements on the site is a blatant violation of international norms,” Zakharova stated, later adding that retaliation measures are unavoidable.
As US intelligence agencies continue to try and figure out just what went wrong during last year’s election, it appears as if both RT and Sputnik will have their influence blocked to some degree, at least for the time being. It will be interesting to see how RT as well as the Russian Foreign Ministry retaliates against Twitter in the days and weeks to follow. It will also be interesting to see if President Trump reacts to this news in any way.
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