X filed a federal defamation lawsuit Monday in Texas against Media Matters for America, accusing the media watchdog group of starting an advertiser exodus with a “harmful” article that claimed the social network was allowing top brands to run ads near anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi posts.
The liberal media watchdog reportedly curated a feed specifically featuring fringe accounts and those belonging to companies such as IBM, Comcast, Apple and Oracle, then displayed screenshots of the unsavory posts appearing near company ads on a critical article, according to the lawsuit.
The Media Matters analysis, published last week, also claims that X owner Elon Musk has increasingly begun a “descent into white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
The lawsuit does not dispute that ads from some leading brands appeared near the inflammatory content.
Instead, he suggests Media Matters gamed X to produce extremely unlikely pairings that are usually controlled by the service's advertising tools, claiming that a harmful matchup appeared for “only one viewer (out of more than 500 million) across all of X: Media Matters . »
“Not a single genuine user of the X platform saw the IBM, Comcast, or Oracle ads alongside this content, which Media Matters accomplished only through manipulation of X's algorithms,” the lawsuit continues.
“Media matters was created these pairings with secrecy, to create the harmful perception that X is at best an incompetent content moderator (a damaging accusation for any social media platform), or even worse that X was somehow uncaring or even encouraging of the Nazi and racist ideology,” the suit. he argues elsewhere.
said Media Matters The independent in a statement his analysis of X and its content policies remains valid.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit designed to intimidate X's critics into silence,” Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said in the statement. “Media Matters stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court.”
Top X executives have protested against Media Matters in recent days.
“If you know me, you know that I am committed to truth and justice. Here's the truth,” Linda Yaccarino He wrote at X on Monday. “Not a single authentic user on X saw the IBM, Comcast, or Oracle ads next to the content in the Media Matters article. Only 2 users saw the Apple ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters. Data beats manipulation or claims.”
Mr. Musk, meanwhile, called the organization “pure evil” in an X post of his.
In addition to questioning the accuracy of the Media Matters report, Mr. Musk has openly endorsed a right-wing conspiracy theory about X in recent days, drawing criticism that it fuels anti-Semitism.
Last Wednesday, the billionaire x owner responded to a tweet that echoed claims of the racist and often anti-Semitic “great replacement” theory, including that Jews were “flooding” America with “hordes of minorities” to promote “dialectical hatred against whites ».
Mr. Musk called the claim “the real truth”.
The theory cited in the original post was among the hateful ideas directly cited by the gunman who killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.
“At a time when anti-Semitism is exploding in America and flaring around the world, it is undeniably dangerous to use one's influence to validate and promote anti-Semitic theories,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the civil rights group Anti-Defamation League, which monitors anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism, wrote to X in response to Mr. Musk.
The White House also stood down, claiming the tech CEO helped spread “despicable promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hatred.”
“It is unacceptable to repeat at any time the heinous lie behind the deadliest act of anti-Semitism in American history, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” the White House said in a statement.
The independent reached out to Mr. Musk during the backlash for his response to the post and did not hear back.
Amid the controversy, Mr Musk has alternately defended X's content policies and appeared to mock critics who claim the network harbors hateful content.
Last week, he shared a clip of someone playing a video game level called “Echo of Hatred,” with the caption “defeating hate is never easy.”
“Clear calls for extreme violence are against our terms of service and will result in suspension,” he said He wrote elsewhere in X on Friday.
This summer, a study by the Center to Combat Digital Hate claimed that X failed to remove 99 percent of a selection of hateful content flagged by the group. The group claimed that “the platform allows them to break its rules with impunity and even algorithmically boosts their toxic tweets.”