X, a social media platform owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has filed a lawsuit against Media Matters for America, alleging that the liberal media watchdog group defamed his platform after a published report on how ads for major advertisers appear next to posts with antisemitic rhetoric.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division on Monday, X alleged that Media Matters “exploited” the platform’s features of allowing users to control the content they see on their feed by creating a secret account designed to evade normal safeguards and manipulate “every aspect of the system through which posts and advertisements appear, ultimately creating the side-by-side images of objectionable content and advertisements.”
X also alleged Media Matters only followed 30 users on its secret account – which is less than the average user follows on its platform – noting that the watchdog’s “excessive scrolling and refreshing generated between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than would be seen by a typical user, essentially seeking to force a situation in which a brand ad post appeared adjacent to fringe content.”
“The overall effect on advertisers and users was to create the false, misleading perception that these types of pairings were common, widespread, and alarming,” the lawsuit reads. “Media Matters hid its manipulations through omissions, deceptive image selections, misrepresentations, and secrecy settings.”
The lawsuit comes days after Musk wrote in an X post that his company will file a lawsuit against Media Matters after the liberal watchdog published its report on the platform last week, where it detailed how major advertisers on the platform had their ads shown alongside white supremacist content.
“The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company, Musk wrote in his Saturday post.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement, “This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence. Media Matters stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court.”
Musk, who purchased the platform formerly known as Twitter in October 2022, also saw controversy where he was criticized for engaging in antisemitic rhetoric on his platform.
As a result, major companies such as IBM, Disney, Lionsgate, Paramount, and Apple announced they were leaving the social media platform. The European Union (EU) also halted advertising on the platform.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) announced on Musk’s platform that he has launched an “investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity,” noting Musk’s accusation of the liberal watchdog “manipulating data.”
“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,” Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino wrote in an X post in defense of the company.
“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.”