Kaspersky Lab says it has been banned from running advertisements on Twitter amid claims the Russian cybersecurity company has ties to Russia’s intelligence agencies.
Kaspersky Lab’s founder, Yevgeny Kaspersky, revealed the move in an open letter published on his company’s website on April 20.
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.”
Twitter was not immediately available to comment, but Reuters quoted an e-mailed statement it had received with the exact same wording.
Kaspersky said in his letter that he couldn’t understand how the company’s business model conflicts with Twitter policy since a majority of its promoted content on Twitter is about cybersafety, along with research reports about the information security industry.
“We haven’t violated any written – or unwritten – rules, and our business model is quite simply the same template business model that’s used throughout the whole cybersecurity industry: We provide users with products and services, and they pay us for them,” he wrote.
“What specific (or even non-specific) rules, standards and/or business practices we violated are not stated in the letter. In my view, the ban itself contradicts Twitter’s declared-as-adopted principle of freedom of expression,” he added.
In January, Kaspersky was included on a U.S. Treasury Department list of 210 officials and billionaires from Russia's ruling elite, exposing them to scrutiny and potential future sanctions.
The list includes 43 of Russian President Vladimir Putin's aides and advisers, including Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, 31 cabinet ministers including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, senior lawmakers, and top officials in Russia's intelligence agencies.
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.