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    Russian Senators Advise National Media to Refrain From Placing Ads on Twitter

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    The decision comes in the wake of a US Congress hearing with executives of tech giants, including Twitter, on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election that has been strongly denied by Moscow.

    The Russian Upper House has recommended the country's media outlets to refrain from placing ads on Twitter, according to the announcement of Senator Oleg Morozov.

    "In response to the discriminatory measures taken by US authorities against Russian media, we recommend that Russian companies refrain from placing advertising content on Twitter," Morozov stated.

    The senator has explained that the measure concerns "dozens of companies that interact with Twitter here in Russia, with state participation and private…It will be biting, as it's millions of dollars."

    The Russian Federation Council's Commission on information policy is scheduled hold a meeting on November 9 to discuss possible measures in response to the "discrimination" of the Russian media in the US.

    The Russian parliament's move comes the next day after the executives from tech titans Facebook, Google and Twitter testified on the alleged Russian meddling through posting dubious ads on social media in Congress. Commenting on the situation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier in the day that it seems that the companies were intimidated by the US authorities and confused in the responses.

    Tech Giants' Testimony

    According to Twitter acting general counsel, the number of automated accounts that have been linked to Russia and that have been identified as posting election-related content during the 2016 US presidential campaign is small in comparison to the overall number of accounts on the platform.

    READ MORE: Tech Executives Testify Before Congress on Russian Activity on Their Platforms

    The hearing took place in the wake of Facebook's claims that around 80,000 posts had been made over a two year period; which apparently have potentially influenced an estimated 126 million Americans. When asked to comment on the issue, the Kremlin spokesperson said that Russian authorities are not aware of the issue at all, emphasizing that Moscow has nothing to do with it.

    Most recently, Google announced that it had failed to find any evidence of manipulation or policy violations on YouTube by RT or any other Russian media outlets. During the Congress testimony, Google's senior counsel confirmed the information and said that the company uncovered only two suspect ad accounts that spent just $4,700.

    Pressure on Russian Media in US

    RT, as well as Sputnik, have been facing increased pressure amid allegations on their role in alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, a claim strongly denied by Moscow.

    In particular, RT was requested to register under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in September in an unprecedented move not applied to any other media operation in the country, prompting Moscow to warn Washington of response measures toward US outlets in Russia.

    In the latest development of the situation surrounding Russian media outlets in the US amid the so-called Russia probe, Twitter decided to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by RT and Sputnik on the basis of its internal investigation carried out following the US intelligence community’s conclusion that both media outlets allegedly attempted to interfere in the 2016 election.

    In its turn, RT has revealed how Twitter itself has been pushing the broadcaster to spend big on its ads during the US election campaign, a proposal eventually turned down by the media outlet. According to Sputnik's press release, the agency has never used paid promotion on Twitter, pointing out that its subscribers are those who are looking for an alternative view on world events.

    READ MORE: Full Disclosure: Read Twitter's Complete Ad Pitch to RT Ahead of 2016 Election

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described Twitter's move as a decision made under the pressure of the US security services, adding that it is yet another aggressive step aimed at blocking actions of Russian media.

    Commenting on the pressure on RT and Sputnik on Tuesday, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor said that it "has enough mechanisms for an adequate mirror response, if the unprecedented pressure continues."

    According to Russian First Deputy Justice Minister Oleg Plokhoi, Moscow may boost control of foreign nonprofit organizations in response to US measures against Russian media.

    First Deputy Chairman of the Russian upper house's Committee on Defense and Security Frants Klintsevich told Sputnik that Russia would adopt "adequate but severe" tit-for-tat measures against US media, including the CNN broadcaster, following restrictions in the United States against RT and Sputnik news agency.

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