Unlike Facebook and Google, Twitter has taken an aggressive stance toward Russian media buyers who interfered in the 2016 US election. The full story of the self-serving deals between US social media giants and Russian hackers, government media agencies, and bots remains unknown. To cover its own culpability, Twitter banned both RT and Sputnik as of yesterday. RT, however, didn't take that without its own protest. It raises the question as to how aggressive were these media giants not just in publishing this Russian interference but in soliciting it. Did they sell out democracy for cash?
In a statement published on Thursday, October 26, Twitter announced that it is “off-boarding” all advertising from accounts owned by RT and Sputnik, the two Russian-government-controlled media outlets accused by the American intelligence community of trying to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Twitter drops all ads from Russia Today and Sputnik, citing 2016 U.S. election interferencehttps://meduza.io/en/news/2017/10/26/twitter-bans-all-ads-from-russia-today-and-sputnik-citing-2016-u-s-election-interference
Twitter cited its own “retrospective work” and “the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government.”
Twitter says it will also donate $1.9 million (the amount of money the company earned from RT global advertising since it became an advertiser in 2011) 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.”
But RT says Twitter actually solicited it for even more election ads
RT says Twitter actually pushed it to purchase a large number of ads during the 2016 U.S. election, but the channel turned down the offer. On October 26, RT published an article stating that Twitter's actions “compel us to reveal the details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives pitched to RT a large-sum advertising proposal.” The first meetings in these negotiations reportedly took place in April 2016, involving “senior marketing and news partnerships managers from Twitter.” The main idea RT says Twitter pitched was for the network to “take a stand.” RT says it eventually declined the offer, deciding that the ads were too expensive.
Note: Meduza is an independent Russian news site publishing in Latvia to escape Russian government control. No one should confuse that for an anti-Russian stance. That merely means that it will publish criticism of the Putin government and allow his opponents to speak.