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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Twitter said Thursday it would "off-board" ads linked to Russian state outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik over concerns they tried to influence the 2016 election. The move comes less than a week before the company sends a lawyer to testify on Russian election meddling on Capitol Hill, where he'll join colleagues from Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: The implications for tech companies of possible Russian election meddling go far beyond those ads purchased by a notorious "troll farm" that have already been disclosed.

The details:

  • "This decision was based on the retrospective work we've been doing around the 2016 U.S. election and the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government," the company said in a blog post.
  • Both outlets can continue to use the platform — just not advertise on it — "in accordance with the Twitter Rules."
  • The company will donate an estimated $1.9 million earned from RT ads since 2011 to "support external research into the use of Twitter in civic engagement and elections, including use of malicious automation and misinformation, with an initial focus on elections and automation."

What's next: Facebook and Google (which owns YouTube) are likely to face more questions about their relationships with RT.

Go deeper

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but they fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.

Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have a conversation ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a diplomatic row erupted over a scrapped submarine order, per the White House.

Driving the news: Macron said that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week and will resume working with senior U.S. officials.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.