Twitter Bans Kaspersky Labs Ads Over Alleged Ties To Russian Intelligence

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In a statement Twitter confirmed the action it had taken, saying: "This decision is based on our determination that Kaspersky Lab operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices".

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's director Svetlana Ivanovathen penned a letter to Sinead McSweeney, the social network's vice president of public policy and communication, asking to know why the cybersecurity firm had been denied access to Twitter advertising.

Quoting Game of Thrones, he directed the post at Twitter head honcho Jack Dorsey and the company's top-brass, noting that while he agreed with the need to defend against misinformation, Kaspersky wasn't spreading it or obviously violating any advertising rules.

The Kaspersky Lab founder said that more than two months have passed and the only reply he received from Twitter was the copy of the same boilerplate text. In a short letter from an unnamed Twitter employee, we were told that our company "operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices".

He praised Twitter for their idea regarding the Advertising Transparency Center, stating he understands that social media outlets are busy dealing with public and political pressure, referring to their recent testimonies on Capitol Hill amid an investigation into alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "Saving the world from cyberthreats is our mission, so it's fair to assume that the cybersafety is the focus of the majority of the content we have promoted on Twitter", he wrote.

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According to a report in Cyberscoop, a Twitter spokesperson pointed towards the September 2017 decree from US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that ordered federal agencies to remove Kaspersky products from their networks.

Kaspersky says that the social media tycoon informed his company about the ad ban at the end of January.

However, Kaspersky is willing to let things slide if Twitter fesses up to the situation being a mistake: "Twitter, if this is a matter of a decision being made in error, please openly admit this; people'd forgive you - everyone makes mistakes!"

IT Pro has contacted Twitter to try and find out the reasons behind Kaspersky's ban, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Kaspersky is fighting back on multiple fronts against bans and blocks enforced by governments, filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration after mounting USA pressure saw it prohibit public sector bodies from using Kaspersky Lab software, while in the United Kingdom, the National Cyber Security Centre issued guidance advising all government departments to avoid Russian antivirus firms.

"Therefore, the company is calling on Twitter to provide a more specific and detailed explanation of its decision".

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