Failing to receive any response from Twitter regarding the banning of Kaspersky ads without any apparent reason this January, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, has written an open letter to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to call him out for the lack of transparency.
The Russia-based cybersecurity company received intimation from the social media platform Twitter towards the end of January 2018 that said that the company “operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices.” Following this, a ban was put on all advertisements made by Kaspersky on their official accounts, which they use to announce new posts on various blogs on cybersecurity (including Securelist and Kaspersky Daily) and inform users about new cyber threats and what to do about them.
To act promptly on the matter, Kaspersky sent an official letter to Twitter two months ago to gain more information regarding the reasons behind the ban, the response to which was “the copy of the same boilerplate text”, says Kaspersky. Having been disappointed by Twitter’s lack of transparency, an exasperated Kaspersky finally took “to share details of the matter with interested users and 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 cybersecurity companies need to do in order to avoid similar situations. What’s more – within a reasonable timeframe please.”
Kaspersky feels that Twitter is playing right into the hands of cybercriminals while taking inexplicable steps to bow down to public and political pressures. And while appreciating Twitter’s Advertising Transparency Center, has nevertheless outlined two reasons for writing an open letter to Twitter:
Firstly, to set a precedent to prevent other platforms like Twitter from victimizing apolitical IT security companies on the basis of false and groundless accusations in certain US media outlets; and Second, to take it upon themselves to fight what Kaspersky deems as a rude injustice. “When we see injustice – we fight it. And we’re no longer a David up against a Goliath. We take on and beat powerful patent trolls. We fight monopolies and win. We fight the unfairness of lies about us in the media. Scary large-scale difficulties and uneven playing fields – it’s all in a day’s work for Kaspersky Lab. And if, in addition to cybersecurity, we also have to fight unjustifiable acts akin to censorship – so be it,” reads the letter.
Kaspersky ends his letter by informing users how he is planning to reroute the resources meant for advertising during the financial year of 2018 by stating that, “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.”