Elon Musk’s social media platform X has taken legal action against Media Matters for America, alleging that the watchdog falsely accused the site of permitting antisemitic content alongside advertisements.
In the lawsuit, X, formerly known as Twitter, claims that Media Matters “manipulated” data with the intent to harm and dismantle the social media platform.
Following the watchdog’s analysis, several companies, including Apple, Disney, IBM, and Comcast, halted advertising on X. Musk, in response, threatened legal action, prompting Media Matters to label him a bully.
Media Matters asserted last week that X displayed ads alongside posts endorsing Nazism, featuring quotes from Hitler and denying the Holocaust. Additionally, Elon Musk himself faced allegations of amplifying an antisemitic post on the platform.
The lawsuit, filed in Texas on Monday, Nov. 20, argues: “Media Matters knowingly and maliciously manufactured side-by-side images depicting advertisers’ posts on X Corp’s social media platform beside Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content and then portrayed these manufactured images as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform.
“Media Matters designed both these images and its resulting media strategy to drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp.”
X said in the lawsuit that ads for Comcast, Oracle and IBM had only appeared alongside hateful content for Media Matters, and no other viewer.
Linda Yaccarino, chief executive of X, posted on Monday: “Here’s the truth. Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to the content in Media Matters’ article.”
In the wake of the Media Matters allegations, the European Commission, Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount and Lionsgate have also pulled ad dollars from X.
On Saturday, Mr Musk vowed to file a “thermonuclear” lawsuit against Media Matters, and anyone “who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company”.
In response, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said they would win any legal action.
“Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate,” Mr Carusone said in a statement.
Last Wednesday, Mr Musk came under fire after he replied to a post sharing a conspiracy theory accusing Jewish communities of pushing hatred against white people, calling it the “actual truth”.
The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur later denied antisemitism, saying his comments referred not to all Jewish people, but to groups like the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-hate monitor.
Meanwhile, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Monday that he had opened an investigation into Media Matters “for potential fraudulent activity” over its allegations about X.
His office released a statement calling the liberal group a “radical anti-free speech organization”.
Mr Paxton also vowed to ensure that “the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square”