Elon Musk’s social media company X, formerly Twitter, has sued media watchdog group Media Matters, after alleging it defamed the platform in a report that claimed ads for large brands were appearing alongside Nazi party posts.
The Media Matters report, published on Thursday (16 November) prompted large companies such as IBM and Comcast to pull their advertisements from the platform.
The lawsuit claims Media Matters “manipulated” the platform by only showing accounts that exclusively followed users known to produce harmful content.
X alleges Media Matters “resorted to endlessly scrolling and refreshing” to find harmful content alongside advertisements.
The social media platform claims the report was made “with the intention of harming X and its business”.
Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said he “stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court.”
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Carusone said the “frivolous” lawsuit was being used to “bully X’s critics into silence” in an email statement viewed by Reuters.
X claims the harmful content alongside advertisements for IBM, Comcast and Oracle, all of which are highlighted in the report, had only ever appeared next to one viewer. The lawsuit claims the one viewer was Media Matters.
On Monday, X CEO Linda Yaccarino posted: “Data wins over manipulation or allegations. Don’t be manipulated. Stand with X.”
Following Musk’s tumultuous $44bn takeover of Twitter in October 2022, advertisers have left the platform citing issues with content moderation.
On Monday (20 November), Apple and Lionsgate announced they were suspending all advertising activity on the platform after Musk responded to an anti-Semitic post on 15 November.
The post in question stated that the Jewish community supported “dialectal hatred” against White people, to which Musk responded, “You have said the actual truth.”
Musk originally clarified that this statement was specifically directed to the Anti-Defamation League, not to the Jewish community.