Twitter just banned Russia Today and Sputnik advertising over election meddling

Lynsey Barber
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Russia's state backed media companies will no longer be able to advertise on Twitter (Source: Getty)

Twitter has effectively banned two Russian media organisations from advertising on the platform because of election meddling.

Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik were both found to have "attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government" Twitter said, following investigations by the tech company.

"We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter," the company said in a blog post.

Read more: Read: MPs letter to Zuckerberg demanding info on Russia Brexit meddling

The two state-backed media companies have advertised with Twitter since 2011 and the forecast $1.9m revenue the platform has expected to have earned from them will be donated to charities supporting civic engagement.

"Early this year, the US intelligence community named RT and Sputnik as implementing state-sponsored Russian efforts to interfere with and disrupt the 2016 Presidential election, which is not something we want on Twitter," the company said.

"This decision is restricted to these two entities based our internal investigation of their behavior as well as their inclusion in the January 2017 DNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] report. This decision does not apply to any other advertisers. RT and Sputnik may remain organic users on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter rules."

Earlier in the day before the announcement was made, RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan had tweeted, saying: "Hope @jack [Dorsey, Twitter chief executive] won't forget to tell @congressdotgov [US congress] how @Twitter pitched @RT-com to spend big $$s on US elex [election] ad campaign."

Twitter next week faces a grilling from US politicians, along with Facebook and Google, over Russian-linked adverts that appeared on their sites during last year's US Presidential election and what influence they may have had.

The action by Twitter follows new measures to make its advertising more transparent.

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