In an announcement published on its blog on Thursday, the company declared that it "has made the policy decision to off-board advertising" from the Russian media outlets, "effective immediately." Twitter cited "retrospective work" surrounding "the 2016 US election, and the US intelligence community's conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government."
Twitter has made policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik: https://t.co/APlYir211t— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) 26 октября 2017 г.
Sputnik editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called Twitter's decision regrettable.pointed out that it has never violated any of Twitter's advertising rules, never dealt with bots, and never deliberately spread misinformation. In fact, the broadcaster stressed, it was Twitter that pitched a "large-sum advertising proposal" to the news network, which RT declined.
But it has been ordinary social media users who have left the harshest commentary for the company, accusing the social media giant of breaking elementary freedom of speech rules, and of censoring any media that the company happens to disagree with.
Yes let's censor any media outlet we disagree with!— Andy (@Andy17057) 26 октября 2017 г.
— 🌺/K/aitilyn🇺🇸 (@kitty_Kaiti) 26 октября 2017 г.
— Tanweer Dar (@tanweer_dar) 26 октября 2017 г.
Others asked why Russian English-language media was being selectively targeted for the ban.
Will Twitter target British propaganda BBC, USA propaganda CNN in same way ..or is this selective to only one country?— Sukhoi (@Sukhoi004) 26 октября 2017 г.
No wonder China banned USA websites.. propaganda only one way..USA can dump propaganda buy others can't counter it..— Sukhoi (@Sukhoi004) 26 октября 2017 г.
Some users claimed that the company has effectively bowed to US intelligence, with others still saying the ban was a "pathetic display" of "neo-McCarthyist censorship," or even evidence of the continued pressure by the Democratic Party against companies over their unexpected loss to Trump in last year's elections.
Others made light of the situation, turning to memes and sarcasm to voice their concerns over the absurdity of the situation, and joking about the awkward language used by the company in its announcement.
LMAO What a great example of freedom of speech!!! Democracy is shining!!!— Serguei Makarov (@SergueiMakarov) 26 октября 2017 г.
“Off board?” WTF does that mean. Who talks like that?— Ryan G. Poirier (@RGPphotog) 26 октября 2017 г.
Finally, others asked Twitter one simple question: to cite examples of Sputnik and RT's alleged misdeeds.
Twitter, can we have some grievous example tweets of what RT and Sputnik actually did? Examples were also missing from the DNI report.— Daniel Miller 30 (@danielmiller30) 26 октября 2017 г.
Didn't CNN leak debate questions to Hillary's Campaign? Wasn't that PROVEN interference? Meanwhile, proof of Russia's 'meddling' = ZERO! 😎— Vasili Sushko (@vsushko_) 26 октября 2017 г.