You won’t be seeing any more ads from Russia Today or Sputnik on Twitter. While the social media platform hasn’t outright banned the pair of Russia state media outlets from tweeting, they won’t be able to run advertisements due to their interference in the U.S. election. The $1.9 million dollars Moscow spent on propaganda ads through RT and Sputnik will be used by Twitter to do further research into how Twitter influences elections and civic engagement. A statement released by Twitter explained the move:
“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.”
CEO Jack Dorsey added that the “off-boarding” of advertisements by Russia Today and Sputnik is occurring today. He also explained that “we’re donating all projected earnings (1.9mm) to support external research into the use of Twitter in elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation.”
That might not be enough to keep Twitter leadership out of hot water, though. RT may be vindictively stirring the pot, but the head of social media at Russia Today implicated Jack Dorsey, tweeting (natch) that he apparently invited the two Russian media outlets to invest in Twitter advertisements.
Twitter and Facebook have both been cooperating with the Senate’s Russia probe to try and capture a better picture of just how Moscow went about influencing the election. Evidence shows that Russia had some success in creating xenophobic Facebook groups and events that actually got people to turn out in person for right-wing causes like anti-immigration rallies and flash mobs. But these close examinations show a troubling link between Twitter, fake news, and Russian propaganda.
You can see the full Twitter statement below.
(Via Tech Crunch)