Social media network Twitter has remained an instrumental communications tool for the masses. In an extraordinary move by the social media channel, the company announced on October 26 that it is banning advertising from all accounts owned by RT and Sputnik effective immediately.
The microblogging platform made the news known to the world via a blog post. In addition, they explained, "This decision was based on the retrospective work we´ve been doing around the 2016 U.S election and the U.S intelligence community´s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russin government."
This is in light of the work and ongoing investigations by the U.S Intelligence community, which named RT and Sputnik as implementing state-sponsored Russian efforts and tried to disrupt the 2016 Presidential Election.
Prior to this announcement, there was another incident that involved another high profile Twitter account. According to Business Insider´s report, "The Twitter account of Al Jazeera's Arabic channel, a verified account with more than eleven million followers, was suspended due to an organized campaign."
Elsewhere, the reason for these recent changes may be linked to the probe carried out by U.S authorities. The New York Times confirmed that "Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, is not at the center of the congressional investigations into the Russian intervention in the 2016 election. Kremlin-linked operatives deployed paid human "trolls" and hordes of fake accounts on Twitter and Facebook to push news and conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and criticism of the United States government."
These latest developments did not go unnoticed by Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, he discussed the implications of such a decision. In an interview conducted by Sputnik, McAdams confirmed explicitly that the company´s motivation behind the decision was political.
"Following the statement, RT published Twitter´s election advertising sales pitch, which demonstrates that the tech giant was vying for millions of dollars from RT in the run-up to the 2016 U.S Presidential election."On the other hand, after proceeding with the removal of all advertising from news outlets analysts are calling into question the harsh decision. Conforming to news from Reuters, "Some analysts said transparency, rather than a ban, would have been a better approach. Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows anonymous accounts and automated accounts, or bots, making the service more difficult to police".
In the end, there will be a backlash and a response from Moscow in the days that follow. Social media platforms used to be about disseminating news and engaging global audiences. Twitter might be considering its own self-interest and will try to survive amidst the problems with growth. The social network has struggled to grow users on the platform, and perhaps this measure could be the byproduct of not wanting to scare off loyal users in light of these current issues.
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