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Twitter bans RT and Sputnik from advertising after election row

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Twitter bans RT and Sputnik from advertising after election row

Twitter bans RT and Sputnik from advertising after election row
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Twitter has banned two Kremlin-backed news organisations – RT and Sputnik – from advertising on its network, after they were accused of interfering in the US presidential election.

The decision sparked a threat of retaliation from Moscow.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have all reported that they suspect Russian-backed groups purchased advertisements around politically-sensitive issues during the 2016 campaigns. Earlier this year, the CIA issued a report accusing Russia of trying to influence the result of the vote in favour of Donald Trump.

Twitter said it would use around €1.6 million earned from RT, formerly known as Russia Today, since 2011 for research into the use of its platforms around elections and civic engagement.

RT and Sputnik can both maintain their non-paid operations on Twitter, the company said.

RT responded by denying attempting to interfere in the election, saying it had bought advertising after Twitter employees told it that spending on the platform was the best way to increase its reach.

“Retaliatory measures, naturally, will follow,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to the RIA news agency.