September 29, 2017 / 6:39 AM / 21 days ago

Russian broadcaster defends its Twitter ad purchases: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The editor-in-chief of Kremlin-backed media outlet RT said on Friday its purchase of advertisements on Twitter was standard commercial practice that was being falsely presented as Russian meddling in U.S. affairs, RIA news agency reported.

The logo of Russian television network Russia Today (RT) is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

San Francisco-based Twitter said RT, also known as Russia Today, had spent $274,100 on Twitter advertisements and promoted 1,823 tweets potentially aimed at the U.S. market.

Twitter, whose executives testified before U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, has suspended about 200 Russian-linked accounts as it probes alleged online efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. election by Moscow.

“Twitter has revealed some monstrous information in Congress: we spent money on our ad campaigns. Just as all the usual media organizations in the world do,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

“Now we have to go even further and admit sincerely: we spent on ads in airports, taxis, on billboards, the internet, TV and radio as well. Our commercials were even broadcast on CNN,” she said.

“Somehow it did not occur to us that, in a developed democracy, regular media advertising could turn out to be a suspicious and harmful activity,” Simonyan said.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Paul Tait

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