Russia Today and Sputnik Can No Longer Advertise on Twitter

Twitter will donate the $1.9 million it is estimated to have earned from Russia Today since 2011

Russia Today and Sputnik can still post organically on Twitter bortonia/iStock

Twitter’s efforts to clean up its political advertising continued with Thursday’s announcement that two advertisers have been banished.

Twitter Public Policy announced in a blog post that it will no longer accept advertising from accounts owned by Russia Today and Sputnik due to findings by the U.S. intelligence community that those companies attempted to interfere with last November’s U.S. presidential elections.

The company also said it will donate the $1.9 million it is estimated to have earned from RT since it became an advertiser on the social network in 2011—including $274,100 in U.S.-based advertising in 2016—“to support external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation, with an initial focus on elections and automation.”

Twitter added in its blog post, “Early this year, the U.S. 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. This decision is restricted to these two entities based on our internal investigation of their behavior, as well as their inclusion in the January 2017 DNI 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.”

UPDATED: RT deputy editor-in-chief Kirill Karnovich-Valua posted an op-ed claiming that Twitter pushed RT to spend big during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections in order to “take a stand, and editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan also referenced those claims in a tweet: David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.