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Twitter didn't tell Senate Intel about RT pitch to buy election ads

27 October 2017

Twitter's decision to suspend advertising by Russia Today, or RT, and the news agency Sputnik is "effective immediately", the company announced in a statement.

"It is based on the work back that we have done around the american election of 2016 and the conclusion to which arrived the us intelligence services that both RT that Sputnik have attempted to interfere with the election for the account of the Russian government", said Twitter in a statement.

The statement added that the almost $2 million in revenue in received from the Russian ads will fund "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".

Last month, Twitter confirmed that state-owned RT spent $274,100 on USA ads on its platform during 2016.

"This decision is restricted to these two entities based our internal investigation of their behavior as well as their inclusion in the January 2017 [intelligence] report".

Twitter calculated that it received approximately $1.9 million from global advertising since 2011, including $274,100 in marketing expenditures in 2016. RT will still be able to run its Twitter account and tweet organically as long as they abide by the terms and conditions.

This breaking news story is being updated as more information emerges - please refresh the page for the most recent version.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a hearing for November 1, less than a week away, on the role played by Twitter, Google and Facebook during Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

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Russian Federation slammed Twitter's decision and threatened to retaliate.

RT also alleged that Twitter had encouraged it to buy advertising in order to expand its reach in the US.

Facebook disclosed last month it had found ads linked to fake accounts - likely run from Russian Federation - that sought to influence the US election.

The remarks from Simonyan come amid heightened scrutiny of Russian government influence in the presidential race, including the roles played by social media ads and Kremlin media outlets.

Late last month, Colin Crowell, Twitter vice president for public policy, met with staffers from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

On Oct. 19, US lawmakers, alarmed that foreign entities used the internet to influence last year's election, introduced legislation to extend rules governing political advertising on broadcast television, radio and satellite to also cover social media.

Through the transparency centre, users will also be able to report inappropriate ads and give negative feedback for every ad now running.

No other accounts are affected by the decision, according to the blog post.

Twitter didn't tell Senate Intel about RT pitch to buy election ads