Twitter Bans Russian Security Firm Kaspersky from Advertising on the Platform
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. The company suggests that Kaspersky's business practice "inherently conflicts" with the platform's advertising policies.
The decision to ban the cybersecurity firm "is based on our determination that Kaspersky Lab operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices," Twitter said in its statement referring to a Department of Homeland Security notice on Kaspersky Lab that talked about the ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence agencies. "Kaspersky Lab may remain an organic user on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules."
Not the first ban for Kaspersky
Founded by Eugene Kaspersky, a former Russian intelligence officer, Kaspersky has often been accused by the US intelligence community and authorities over its links with the Kremlin.
Last year, the Trump administration banned the use of the firm's product and services in the government departments. President Trump then signed this ban into law with the passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prohibited "use of products and services developed or provided by Kaspersky Lab."
However, Twitter is a private company, not an extension of the US government, which means the company's decision to block Kaspersky from advertising is likely to draw criticism.
"You’re only shooting yourself in the foot when you cater to the geopolitical noise and start refusing to promote material on false pretenses – contrary to the interests of your own business (how else can we describe not accepting money from clients that run ethical businesses?)," Kaspersky wrote in his open letter to Jack Dorsey today.
Last year, Kaspersky spent over $90,000 on Twitter advertisements. The cybersecurity firm said that even if Twitter lifts the ban now, the company would not be advertising with Twitter for the rest of 2018 and funds will instead go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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 @EFF. They do a lot to fight censorship online.
— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) April 20, 2018