Twitter bans Kaspersky Lab from advertising on its platform citing DHS ban for its alleged ties with Russian intelligence agencies.
“At the end of January of this year, Twitter unexpectedly informed us about an advertising ban on our official accounts where we announce new posts on our various blogs on cybersecurity (including, for example, Securelist and Kaspersky Daily) and inform users about new cyberthreats and what to do about them.” reads an open letter sent to the management of Twitter by Kaspersky. “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.”
According to Twitter, this is a policy decision anyway the social media allows Kaspersky Lab to remain an organic user on the platform in accordance with his Rules.
In September, the US Department of Homeland security banned government agencies for using software products developed by Kaspersky Labs. The ban was the response to the concerns about possible ties between Kaspersky and Russian intelligence agencies.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported the news, the order applies to all civilian government networks, but not the military ones.
In July, the US General Services Administration announced that the security firm Kaspersky Lab was deleted from lists of approved vendors.
The US government banned Kaspersky solutions amid concerns over Russian state-sponsored hacking.
In September, US Homeland Security issued a Binding Operational Directive that orders agencies to remove products developed by Kaspersky Lab within 90 days.
The Twitter’s decision is directly linked to the ban, it is the first social media platform to adopt this line against the security giant.
In October, both Best Buy and Office Depot decided to stop the sale of Kaspersky products due to the US ban.
In response to the ban, Kaspersky has repeatedly denied the accusations and it announced the launch of a Global Transparency Initiative that involves giving partners access to the source code of its solutions.
Eugene Kaspersky is disappointed for this decision as stated in the open letter.
“Huh? I read this formulation again and again but still couldn’t for the life of me understand how it might relate to us. 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.” continues the letter. “What specific (or even non-specific) rules, standards and/or business practices we violated are not stated in the letter. In my view, the ban itself contradicts Twitter’s declared-as-adopted principle of freedom of expression. I’ll return to that point in a minute, but first let’s look at the others:”
Back to the Twitter ban, Kaspersky announced that it will donate this year’s Twitter advertising budget to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“By the way, if you think we’re doing this simply to get our advertising back – you’re wrong. There are many other ways to get information to interested parties. Which got me thinking…” concluded the letter.
“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.”
(Security Affairs – Kaspersky Lab, Twitter bans)