Twitter has moved to ban the Moscow-based security and antivirus provider from continuing to advertise on its platform, citing accusations of ties between Kaspersky Labs and Russian intelligence, Reuters reported.
“This decision is based on our determination that Kaspersky Lab operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,” a Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo. “Kaspersky Lab may remain an organic user on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.”
CEO Eugene Kaspersky expressed he was dumbfounded by the decision in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday. “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.”
“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 added.
In an email to Gizmodo, Twitter cited a Homeland Security notice about Kaspersky Labs, which states that the U.S. government remains concerned about ties it has alleged between “certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies,” as well as requirements under Russian law that “allow Russia intelligence agencies to compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.”
Kaspersky, the company’s founder, has adamantly denied that his platform serves as a tool for Russian interception of U.S. communications and data in the past.