Kremlin Assails Twitter Move To Ban Ads From Two Russian Media Outlets

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While RT and Sputnik are banned immediately from advertising, they will be able to continue to keep their Twitter accounts as long as they continue to follow Twitter's rules.

"This decision was based on the retrospective work we've been doing around the 2016 USA election", Twitter said in a blog post Thursday. The management of the Twitter microblog service should think well about measures that Moscow may take in response to its decision to off-board all advertising from accounts of certain Russian media, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in the USA said on Thursday.

Both can remain users on Twitter, the company said.

Twitter announced on Thursday it will ban ads from news agencies Russia Today and Sputnik from appearing on its site.

The web-based social networking goliath will give an expected $1.9m (£1.4m) produced using the outlets into inquire about on Twitter's utilization in "community engagement and decisions".

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Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told state media that the move was a violation of worldwide laws that "guarantee the freedom of speech".

RT and Sputnik condemned the move, and Moscow threatened retaliatory measures. Both publications had recently been fingered as helping in Russian efforts to influence last November's USA presidential election by strategically purchasing and running political ads on Twitter. "It is particularly regrettable that now USA media operating in Russia will feel the tender response of the Russian authorities".

The spokesman hopes that Twitter will sort out the situation and conclude that the work of free media, including RT and Sputnik, "cannot be qualified as meddling in the electoral process of the United States and other countries". Most recently, the channel was requested to register under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act by October 17.

Twitter added in its statement that the company would be donating the $1.9 million it is projected to have received from RT since 2011, to fund external research into the impact of Twitter on elections, with a focus on "malicious" automated bots.

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