Twitter bans ads from Russian media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik

An example of what a future political ad may look like

Twitter announced on Thursday it will ban ads from news agencies Russia Today and Sputnik from appearing on its site.

RT responded to the decision in an opinion piece, calling the accusations that it's seeking to influence people via advertising on Twitter "absolutely groundless".

The social media outlet disclosed RT spent $274,100 on ads in 2016, and $1.9 million on ads since joining the platform in 2011. The policy change comes one week before Twitter representatives are set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about how Russian Federation exploited the platform during the election.

Dorsey didn't say so, but his announcement looks like a response to a tweet a couple of hours earlier from RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, outlining how his company approached RT in 2016 to advertise on the platform.

Twitter on Thursday said RT and Sputnik's implementation of "state-sponsored Russian efforts to interfere with and disrupt" the election "is not something we want on Twitter".

Twitter's decision comes at a time when tech companies are being increasingly scrutinized for their roles in facilitating Russian propaganda during the U.S. election.

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Twitter also said they would use any projected earnings from RT Global advertising - an estimated €1.62 million ($1.9 million) - to fund research into how automation, civic engagement and misinformation on Twitter are used in elections.

The steps, which aim to make political messaging more transparent, follow a similar push by Facebook.

"RT and Sputnik may remain organic users on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules", the company said.

Those disclosures did little to mollify some members of Congress, with the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee blasting Twitter's briefing as "deeply disappointing".

Company executives also claimed that Twitter should see profitability by the close of the year, SFGate.com reported.

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