Elon Musk's X sues Media Matters for research on pro-Nazi content
Twitter sues Media Matters over ad placement next to antisemitic content, sparking high profile advertiser exodus and backlash against owner Elon Musk.
Twitter, now known as X, is taking legal action against Media Matters after the nonprofit organization published research revealing that ads for major brands were appearing alongside antisemitic content on the platform.
The progressive media watchdog found that ads from companies like Amazon and IBM were being placed next to posts supporting white nationalism and Nazism, sparking outrage from X owner Elon Musk.
This lawsuit comes as X faces a significant exodus of advertisers, with major companies like Apple, IBM, and Disney pausing their ads on the platform. This highlights the ongoing challenges around brand safety and content moderation that have been a defining issue for the platform under Musk's ownership.
The legal challenge filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas alleges that Media Matters misrepresented how real users experience ads on the platform, ultimately damaging X's reputation with advertisers.
The lawsuit is being overseen by a Donald Trump appointee, raising questions about the choice of venue for the legal battle. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has also announced an investigation into Media Matters, showing support for Musk's cause.
In response, X has accused Media Matters of manipulating algorithms to create false impressions of ad pairings with racist content. CEO Linda Yaccarino has defended the company, criticizing Media Matters' methodology.
However, experts have highlighted weaknesses in X's arguments, with some suggesting that advertisers see the lawsuit as a distraction from the larger issue of being associated with Musk and discriminatory views.
The recent advertiser exodus has put Yaccarino under the spotlight, as she attempts to minimize the fallout from Musk's actions. The value of the company has significantly declined under his ownership, and industry leaders have urged Yaccarino to step down.
Overall, the legal battle between X and Media Matters reflects the ongoing challenges faced by social media platforms in ensuring brand safety and content moderation, as well as the broader implications of platform ownership on free speech and advertiser decisions.