Elon Musk’s X sues Media Matters after report about ads next to antisemitic content
Elon Musk followed through on his vow to pursue a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters after the liberal watchdog group issued a report that “manufactured” posts on X to place ads from major brands appeared next to anti-Semitic material.
Musk’s social media platform accused the watchdog group of essentially cooking the books in their quest to “drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp.,” according to the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Texas.
The legal action comes as major companies like IBM, NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast said last week they were no longer running ads on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, after Media Matters reported that their ads were appearing next to material that praised Nazism.
The Media Matters report also said ads from Apple and Oracle were placed next to anti-Semitic material on the app. On Friday, the org claims to also find ads from Amazon, NBA Mexico and other companies next to white nationalist hashtags.
But X contends in its complaint that Media Matters “knowingly and maliciously” portrayed ads next to the hateful items “as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform.”
The complaint also claims Media Matters manipulated algorithms on the platform to create images of advertisers’ paid posts aside racist, incendiary content. The pairings were “manufactured, inorganic and extraordinarily rare,” the lawsuit alleges.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a statement that the X account used by Media Matters was the sole account that saw some of the ads next to the anti-Semitic posts from the report, the New York Times reported.
“If you know me, you know I’m committed to truth and fairness. 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,” she said in a post on X.
“Only 2 users saw Apple’s ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters. Data wins over manipulation or allegations. Don’t be manipulated. Stand with X.”
The legal action comes after Musk vowed to file a lawsuit against the liberal watchdog group and its backers over the weekend.
Media Matters said Monday that it stands by its reporting and expects to win if the case reached court.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence,” the non-profit’s president, Angelo Carusone, said in a prepared statement.
Also on Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his office was launching an investigation into “radical left-wing” Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity tied to the same report.
“We are examining the issue closely 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,” he said in a statement.
X has struggled with advertising since Musk took over the company last year for $44 billion. As the company struggles with revenue, he’s had to enact massive cuts to X’s workforce.
He recently sparked outrage when he agreed with a user that claimed “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
“You have said the actual truth,” he tweeted in reply last Wednesday.
Hours later he walked back and qualified that he does not believe hatred of white people extends “to all Jewish communities.”
He posted on Sunday “nothing could be further from the truth” when addressing “bogus media stories” alleging he is anti-Semitic.