Twitter increases ad transparency to avoid future election meddling
Oct 27, 2017, 00:40
Twitter has banned two Russian media outlets from advertising on the social network after concluding that they colluded with the Kremlin to influence the USA election.
Twitter also said it would donate the estimated $1.9 million it received from the two Russian groups since 2011 "to support external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation".
In a statement, Twitter said it did make the decision to ban advertising from the two outlets lightly, and said it was looking to "protect the integrity of the user experience".
Twitter declined to comment on any discussions with advertisers.
Doing so would require the company to disclose funding information and be more outwardly transparent about its relationship with the Russian government, but as CNN reports, despite a mid-October deadline request by the DOJ, there's no sign RT is planning on registering.
"It is particularly regrettable that now US media operating in Russia will feel the tender response of the Russian authorities".
Those Russian efforts have been continuing as the US heads into the 2018 congressional elections, the senators said. RT will still be able to run its Twitter account and tweet organically as long as they abide by the terms and conditions.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred to RT and Sputnik specifically in a report in January as organizations that "contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and worldwide audiences".
RT, an English-language news channel, fired back at Twitter on Thursday, saying on its website that Twitter's sales staff had pressured the Russian outlet in 2016 to spend big on advertising ahead of the election.
The Russian effort to influence the election is said to have consisted of several hundred fake Twitter accounts and about $100,000 worth of Facebook ads promoting "divisive" causes like Black Lives Matter.
RT also alleged that Twitter had encouraged it to buy advertising in order to expand its reach in the US.
"This is the result of pressure from the American establishment and intelligence services".
Lawyers for Twitter and Facebookwill testify next month at hearings before congressional committees investigating what, if any, effect the Russian trolls may have had on the election. The change means they can not put money behind any tweets in an effort to promote them to a certain audience.
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