The Russian Government Fired Back at Twitter Over Its Ad Ban

'A flagrant violation by the U.S. of both international and domestic legislation guaranteeing freedom of expression'

Maria Zakharova
Russian Foreign Ministry - МИД России Facebook page

The government of Russia issued its response to Twitter’s decision earlier this week to ban advertising from Russia Today and Sputnik.

Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted on Twitter and Facebook: “We view this as a further aggressive step aimed at blocking the activities of Russian TV channel Russia Today and the result of the pressure of part of the American intelligence, and the response will naturally follow. It is clear that the obstruction of the Russian media, including through the arsenal of intelligence services, shows a flagrant violation by the U.S. of both international and domestic legislation guaranteeing freedom of expression. Joining this campaign by private corporations is indicative of an unprecedented attack by American media outlets.”

Twitter Public Policy announced in a blog post earlier this week 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 would 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.”