Musk threatens media watchdog with ‘thermonuclear lawsuit’, calls advertisers ‘oppressors’

Elon Musk criticized big advertisers and Media Matters, a media watchdog group, on Friday after several major brands decided to freeze spending on X, the social media platform he owns and runs as CTO.

Musk wrote Late Friday night, “A second trial opens on Monday, X Corp will file a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and everyone who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.” He added, “Their board, their donors, their dark money network, all…” and “The findings and depositions will be glorious to see,” in subsequent tweets.

Media Matters for America (MMFA) The report was published Last week X, formerly Twitter, featured ads from mainstream brands alongside user posts advocating pro-Nazi views. The report comes after Musk personally posted a series of tweets that the White House described as “vile propaganda of anti-Semitic and racist hatred.”

In response, advertisers, including Apple, Comcast/NBC Universal (parent of, Disney, IBM, Gate of Lions, Paramount Globaland Warner Bros. DiscoveryIt then decided to halt their ad spending, at least temporarily, on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Musk tweeted out a paid, ad-free subscription version of X after reports of the suspended campaigns. He wrote, “Premium+ also has no ads in your timeline. Many of the largest advertisers are the biggest oppressors of your free speech.” He did not specify which major advertisers are “oppressors”.

X spokesman Joe Benaroch said in an email Company blog post to CNBC, which claims that Media Matters “grossly misrepresented the actual user experience” of the social network.

He also said in the email: Media issues Created an alternate X account and targeted sensitive accounts to curate posts and display ads on the account's timeline to then mislead advertisers about their postings. This fictional experience can be created on any social media platform. “

Like other social networks Facebook, Reddit and TikTok, are also struggling with brand safety and moderation of hateful and fake content on their platforms. However, Musk himself has sparked outrage in his own tweets, including in recent weeks to his more than 163 million followers, that he has personally promoted fanciful views.

In late October, an X user complained that Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue melts in Charlottesville, Virginia. Bronze was used in new public art that did not glorify the losers of the Civil War. A user who claimed to be a relative of the general lamented, “My family name is hated and many seek our extinction.” Musk then responded in agreement, “They absolutely want you extinct.”

Last week, Musk agreed with a post that falsely claimed that Jewish people promote “dialectical hatred” against white people. Musk called the anti-Semitic post “factual truth,” prompting backlash from brands, critics and even the White House.

On the morning of November 17, the White House warned Musk that he had engaged in “disgusting anti-Semitic and racist hate speech” that “goes against our core values ​​as Americans.”

Later on Friday, Musk announced a new policy for his social network: As I said earlier this week, “decolonization,” “from the river to the sea,” and similar euphemisms necessarily imply genocide. Clear calls for extreme violence are against our Terms of Service and will result in suspension.”

ADL Executive Director Jonathan Greenblatt He praised Musk's pledge to stop the accounts he considers genocidal. Musk has been unwavering in his criticism of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish-led organization that fights hate speech and discrimination. He has also previously threatened to sue, but has not yet sued the ADL.

It is unclear whether X Corp will actually file. claim against Media Matters or in any jurisdiction. X is based in San Francisco and Media Watch is based in Washington, DC

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said in a statement to CNBC on Saturday:

“Not the defender of free speech that Musk claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens baseless lawsuits to silence information that even he has certified as accurate. Musk has admitted that the disputed ad ran alongside pro-Nazi content that We've exposed it. If he sues us, we'll win.”

CNBC's Jonathan Vanian contributed reporting