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Kremlin Assails Twitter Move To Ban Ads From Two Russian Media Outlets

The Kremlin has criticized Twitter's decision to ban advertisements from the accounts of state-supported Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, saying the move was driven by "deep prejudices" against the country's news sources.

"We regret this primarily because [Twitter] is becoming a victim of deep prejudices toward our media," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on October 27.

"We also regret the fact that the company is de facto creating a precedent for unequal treatment of its clients, which could no doubt cause anxiety and fear of the social network's other users," he added.

Twitter on October 26 said it had banned ads from the accounts of RT and Sputnik, citing assertions by U.S. intelligence agencies that the outlets were part of President Vladimir Putin's effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The San Francisco-based social network said that election-meddling was "not something we want on Twitter."

"We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter," the company said.

RT, an English-language news channel also known as Russia Today, said it had never been involved in any illegal activity online and "never pursued an agenda of influencing the U.S. election through any platforms, including Twitter."

Sputnik, a news agency, said on its website that Twitter's move was regrettable, "especially now that Russia had vowed retaliatory measures against the U.S. media." It did not elaborate.

The Kremlin has regularly denied that the Russian government interfered in the election or tried to influence the outcome.

Immediately after the Twitter announcement, the Russian government called Twitter's move "aggressive" and it vowed to retaliate, although it did not specify what moves might be made.

Twitter in early September said it had suspended about 200 Russia-linked accounts and found nearly 2,000 ads placed by RT's television group in its investigation of Russia's alleged efforts to influence last year's election.

It said the identified Twitter accounts were suspended mostly for breaking Twitter's rules against spam -- that is, flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message or links.

Facebook and Google have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms last year to buy ads and post politically divisive content.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and TASS
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