Kaspersky Lab Rails Against Twitter Ad Ban

Twitter has banned ads from Russian AV company Kaspersky Lab, claiming the firm’s business practices are at odds with the platform.

The decision was related in a short letter sent to the firm at the end of January, according to CEO Eugene Kaspersky.

“At Twitter we believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power. We also want to ensure that people feel safe when they interact with our site, and that advertisers bring value to our users,” it read.

“Accordingly, Twitter has made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned by Kaspersky Lab. This decision is based on our determination that Kaspersky Lab operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices.”

Although the firm is allowed to remain an organic user on the site, Kaspersky expressed disbelief at the decision and said he has been unable to get further clarification from Twitter on its reasoning.

“One thing I can say for sure is this: 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 added. “What specific (or even non-specific) rules, standards and/or business practices we violated are not stated in the letter.”

Kaspersky likened the ban to online censorship and claimed Twitter’s actions were playing into the hands of cyber-criminals, as the firm’s tweets help to promote its research on breaking threats such as WannaCry.

Twitter subsequently told Reuters that its decision was also influenced by a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assessment that Kaspersky Lab products may pose a national security threat.

In the past it has also banned ads from Kremlin-backed Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik.

“You’re only shooting yourself in the foot when you cater to the geopolitical noise and start refusing to promote material on false pretences,” Kaspersky responded.

“No matter how this situation develops, we won’t be doing any more advertising on Twitter this year. The whole of the planned Twitter advertising budget for 2018 will instead be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). They do a lot to fight censorship online.”

While Twitter has banned certain Russian companies from advertising on its platform, it still allows Kremlin-backed trolls to spread disinformation. A Whitehall report last week reportedly revealed a 4000% increase in activity from several accounts following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

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