Twitter bans Kaspersky Lab from buying ads on its platform: Here's why

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Twitter announced that it has banned ads from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, citing that cyber-security company's business model conflicts with its advertising rules and due to U.S. government's decision to ban agencies from using Kaspersky software over spying fears. The Russian security firm has been hit with an ad ban for "using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices".

"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.

The owner of the cyber-security company responded to this ban in his blog post and insisted Twitter reconsider its ban. 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".

Twitter confirmed the ban in an e-mail after Kaspersky Lab cofounder Eugene Kaspersky disclosed the development in a blog post on Friday, saying that the company learned of the ban in early January.

Department of Homeland Security cyber-security official Jeanette Manfra said her agency has not instructed US companies to punish Kaspersky.

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The ban follows charges by Washington that Kaspersky Lab has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and its software could be used to enable Russian spying.

Kaspersky Lab has denied any links to the Russian government, and in late 2017 announced a series of transparency initiatives that include an independent review of its source code, and opening "transparency centers" in Asia, the US, and Europe between 2018 and 2020.

"Twitter is playing into the hands of cybercriminals when it hinders us providing users, for example, with timely, potentially important information on protection from cyber-extortionists". Twitter, if this is a matter of a decision being made in error, please openly admit this; people will forgive you - everyone makes mistakes! "I think that would be the only civilized way to quash any doubts about potential political censorship on Twitter".

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.

Given that more than two months had passed since then, Eugene said he had chose to "publicly ask that you, dear Twitter executives, kindly be specific as to the reasoning behind this ban; fully explain the decision to switch off our advertising capability, and to reveal what other cyber security companies need to do in order to avoid similar situations".

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