Texas attorney general opens probe into Media Matters over report on X ads


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said Monday that his office is opening an investigation into Media Matters for America over its recent reports accusing X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, of placing ads for mainstream brands next to pro-Nazi and white nationalist content.

Paxton’s office said it is investigating the liberal media watchdog group for “potential fraudulent activity” after X sued Media Matters in federal court in Texas, alleging that it “manipulated the algorithms” on the platform in order to produce the reports and “alienate advertisers.” 

“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,” Paxton said in a statement.

Media Matters initially released a report on Thursday, saying that it had found ads for companies including Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity and IBM next to posts on X celebrating Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

In a follow-up report on Friday, the watchdog said it had also found ads for Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal Catalyst, Action Network and Club for Growth next to posts featuring white nationalist hashtags.

The Media Matters reports came on the heels of recent backlash against X owner Elon Musk over a post that seemingly endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

In response, several major companies — including Apple; NBCUniversal and its parent company, Comcast; Disney; IBM; Lionsgate; Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery — halted their ad spending on the platform.

X alleged that Media Matters took several steps to “bypass safeguards” in order to produce the images of paid posts from the platform’s largest advertisers alongside “racist, incendiary content.”

The social media company argued that the pairings were “manufactured, inorganic, and extraordinarily rare” and intended to “tarnish X’s reputation by associating it with racist content.” 

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone dismissed the lawsuit on Monday as a “frivolous” effort to “bully X’s critics into silence.”

“Media Matters stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court,” he added in a statement.

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