An adviser to former President Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey called for Media Matters reporters to be jailed over a report that sparked an anti-Semitic row in the U.S.
The controversy began when Media Matters reported that ads from major brands including IBM, Apple, Oracle and Bravo were running alongside pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic content on Musk's social media platform.
The revelation prompted a number of major companies – including Disney, Apple and IBM – to pull advertising from X, while Mr Musk responded by threatening to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and all those complicit in this fraudulent attack on our company”. .
X executive Joe Benarroch also pushed back, saying the research strategy Media Matters used to uncover the content placed next to the company's ads was not representative of how regular people use its platform.
The agency had followed accounts that posted the content and then refreshed Timeline X until ads appeared, Mr Benarroch claimed.
“50 impressions served in relation to article content, out of 5.5 billion served throughout the day, is indicative of how effectively our model avoids content for the advertiser,” he said in a statement published on X. “The facts beat the claims. “
Trump adviser Stephen Miller, whose politics have been described as far-right, has now waded into the drama at X, claiming the report was “fraudulent” and implying that journalists from the left-wing non-profit group had committed crimes.
“Fraud is both a civil and a criminal offense,” he said.
Mr Musk responded to Mr Miller's post, saying: “Interesting. Both civil and criminal”.
AG Bailey also chimed in, saying: “My team is looking into this matter.”
The independent Media Matters has been contacted for comment.
The organization previously called Musk's lawsuit “unfair” and “an attempt to silence reports that he has confirmed are accurate.”
“Musk admitted that the ads in question ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he sues us, we will win,” the nonprofit said.
Since Mr. Musk closed his $44 billion acquisition of X last year, he has loosened moderation policies at X and cut several staff members involved in security on the platform.
said a representative of X The independent the company deliberately did not place the ads next to the posts from the anti-Semitic accounts, which have now been isolated, meaning that the ad can no longer appear on their profiles.
Since taking over the company, Mr. Musk has come under fire on several occasions for content that promotes anti-Semitism.
On Wednesday, Mr Musk, the self-proclaimed “absolute of free speech”, sparked outrage when he said a post promoting an anti-Semitic theory was “the real truth”.
One social media user appeared to promote the “great replacement” conspiracy theory on X, claiming that Jewish communities are “pushing the exact kind of anti-white hate speech they claim they want people to stop using against them.”
“I do not deeply care to make the slightest note now of the Western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities who support the flood of their country are not very fond of them. You want the truth told to your face, here it is,” the post added.
Mr Musk responded by writing: “You spoke the real truth.”
His response received praise from white nationalist Nick Fuentes – while drawing widespread backlash from dozens of others online, with many accusing him of anti-Semitism.
He later responded to accusations of anti-Semitism, insisting that “nothing could be further from the truth”.
“In the past week, there have been hundreds of false media stories claiming that I am anti-Semitic. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote.
“I wish only the best for humanity and a prosperous and exciting future for all.”
This followed an earlier scandal in the days following the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, where Musk was forced to delete a post in which he bolstered an account widely accused of anti-Semitism and promoted debunked videos as credible sources of information about the attack.
Last year, the advocacy group American Jewish Committee called on Musk to apologize for a controversial post that made a satirical comparison between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Adolf Hitler.
Musk has insisted in the past that he is “for free speech” but against anti-Semitism “of any kind”.
In September, he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League – a century-old NGO that bills itself as “the world's leading anti-hate organization” – after the organization accused him of anti-Semitism.