Twitter will immediately terminate all advertisements from Russia Today and Sputnik-owned accounts on its platform, the firm announced today.
“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 firm said in a blog post.
Russia Today and Sputnik are Russian state-funded media organizations and have been linked to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Both can remain users on Twitter, the company said.
Twitter also said they would use any projected earnings from RT Global advertising — an estimated €1.62 million ($1.9 million) — to fund research into how automation, civic engagement and misinformation on Twitter are used in elections.
RT denied that it had played a role in spreading misinformation on Twitter, adding that the social network had even approached them in the run-up to last year’s presidential election to use Twitter to promote its messages online. RT said it had declined the offer.
“RT has never been involved in any illegal activity online, and that it never pursued an agenda of influencing the U.S. election through any platforms, including Twitter,” the Russian state-backed agency said in an op-ed on Thursday.
Twitter, Facebook and Google’s general counsels are scheduled to testify in Washington D.C. in the House and Senate intelligence committees next week about how Russian involvement in U.S. elections affected their platforms.