In a pathetic move, Twitter has banned ads from RT and Sputnik over alleged meddling in the 2016 US election. RT’s editor-in-chief says the move will spark retaliation from Moscow, and has revealed that Twitter pushed RT to spend ad money during the presidential campaign. The social network says it will give away money already earned from the two companies.
RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commented on Twitter’s decision, saying it was “highly regrettable” and could serve as a precursor to retaliatory measures towards US media.
“I never thought that Twitter is under the control of the US security services – it seemed like a conspiracy theory. But now Twitter appears to have admitted it,” Simonyan told RIA Novosti news agency. “This is highly regrettable. It is particularly regrettable that now US media operating in Russia will feel the tender response of the Russian authorities.”
Simonyan earlier posted the social network’s own pitch for an RT advertising campaign ahead of last year’s election, in which Twitter said that the news site would provide an “unbiased point view of the US Elections with an edge.”
“Hope Jack Dorsey [Twitter CEO] won’t forget to tell Congress how Twitter pitched RT to spend big $$s on US election ad campaign,” tweeted Simonyan.
RT turned down Twitter’s advertising pitch, which proposed potentially investing millions of dollars. In fact, it spent only $274,100 on all US Twitter ads in 2016 – not just during the election campaign – and has further cut the ad budget on the site this year.
The ban comes a week before Twitter management is due to testify to a US House committee over its role in supposed Russian meddling in last year’s elections. Staff from the company will appear alongside Facebook and Google employees.
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