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X Files Lawsuit Against Media Matters for Investigating Ads Placed Near Antisemitic Content

X, the social media service previously known as Twitter, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Media Matters. This comes after Media Matters conducted research indicating that ads on X appeared alongside antisemitic content.

The exodus of major brands from the platform was prompted by a post from Elon Musk endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. This post was made a day before the Media Matters research was published, leading to companies such as IBM, Apple, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Sony pausing their spending on X.

X has disputed Media Matters’ findings, stating that they do not accurately represent a regular user’s experience on the platform. Additionally, Mr. Musk vowed to initiate a lawsuit against Media Matters and its supporters.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that Media Matters attempted to harm X’s relationships with advertisers. X’s lawyers claim that Media Matters manipulated the platform’s user experience to create false impressions of advertisements from X’s largest advertisers appearing next to racist and incendiary content.

Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, responded to the lawsuit by stating, “This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence.” He also affirmed that his organization stands behind its reporting and anticipates prevailing in court.

Additionally, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his office would initiate an investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity.

Since Mr. Musk acquired the company a year ago and expressed intentions to relax its content-moderation policies, brands have been hesitant to advertise on X. Linda Yaccarino, who became X’s chief executive in June, has been leading efforts to regain the confidence of advertisers.

However, Mr. Musk’s endorsement of a post accusing Jewish communities of promoting “hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them” caused setbacks. This led Jewish groups to criticize the statement, likening it to the “Great Replacement Theory,” resulting in top-tier brands swiftly withdrawing their advertising from X.

Mr. Musk refuted claims of being antisemitic in a post on X, stating, “Nothing could be further from the truth.” In the lawsuit, X requested the court to order Media Matters to remove its published research and requested unspecified monetary damages and lawyers’ fees.

Ms. Yaccarino defended X, stating that the account used by Media Matters in its research was the only one to see some of the ads adjacent to the antisemitic posts. She also mentioned that an Apple ad was placed next to an antisemitic post and viewed by another user.

During an all-staff meeting, Ms. Yaccarino reaffirmed her commitment to defending X and encouraged employees to be conservative due to decreased revenue caused by the advertiser pauses.

Ms. Yaccarino emphasized the impact of Media Matters and did not address Mr. Musk’s endorsement of the antisemitic post. She also urged employees to be frugal and consider ways to generate additional revenue for the company.

“We want to work with all of our partners who stand with us and believe in the power and the necessity of free speech,” Ms. Yaccarino said. “Sometimes in life and in business, standing for your values is the truly defining thing that makes leaders, and we’re going to hold on to that and keep pushing forward. No critic is ever going to deter us from our mission to keep fighting and protecting free speech.”

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