Twitter bans ads from Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab

Marco Green
April 21, 2018

Founded by Eugene Kaspersky, a former Russian intelligence officer, Kaspersky has often been accused by the USA intelligence community and authorities over its links with the Kremlin.

Twitter vowed to stop Russian disinformation on the social network and banned hundreds of puppet accounts and bots. In the post, Kaspersky complained that an unnamed Twitter employee had cited Kaspersky's business model in a letter to justify the ban, but had provided no specifics about how Kaspersky was in violation of Twitter's rules.

Claiming the company's alleged dealings with the Russian government violates its ad policies, the 280-character shoutfest site says Kaspersky's advertising money is no longer good, but it can still post regular (unpaid) Tweets.

Kaspersky Lab's founder, Yevgeny Kaspersky, revealed the move in an open letter published on his company's website on April 20.

"Kaspersky Lab considers this action - an advertising ban without any valid reasoning or evidence of misconduct- as being contradictory to Twitter's principles for freedom of expression", Kaspersky Lab's statement reads.

Kaspersky spent more than $94,000 on advertising on Twitter in 2017, according to the company.

Russian trolls have plagued social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as lawmakers and the public call for the tech giants to institute better quality control.

Twitter has taken action too, by banning accounts tied to the Russian trolling effort.

Twitter has banned Kaspersky, a Russian cybersecurity firm that often finds itself in the middle of the US-Russia cyber cold war, from advertising on the platform.

Kaspersky said the social-media network told his company in a letter that the decision was based "on our determination that Kaspersky Lab operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices". The spokesperson said, however, the company can "may remain an organic user on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules".

In addition to Kaspersky, who claims to have no ties with the Kremlin or Russian government, business tycoons on the list include Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov, U.S. NBA basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. In December, the Lithuanian government ordered state bodies and companies to replace Kaspersky Lab software "with safe equivalents" on the grounds that the company allegedly posed a threat to national security. He's called it "false allegations" on multiple occasions.

A Twitter spokesperson pointed to the Department of Homeland Security's September ban of Kaspersky products from federal government computers as an explanation for the ban and noted that the platform's terms of service allow it to decide which advertisements it will accept. The funds will instead go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kaspersky said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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