Elon Musk's social-media company X has sued Media Matters for America, known as a progressive watchdog group, claiming that it has defamed the platform. The lawsuit, filed Monday in the Northern District of Texas, accuses the watchdog of manipulating the site's algorithm to drive advertisers away.
It also alleges that the publication distorted the likelihood of ads appearing next to extremist content, and changed the images of ads for major corporations to appear next to neo-Nazi tweets.
Musk initiated the suit after last week’s exodus of advertisers suspending ads, some of the largest brands worldwide. Brands such as IBM, Comcast, Paramount, Lionsgate, among others.
Based on the report that Media Matters for America published, the lawsuit accuses the watchdog of manipulating the likelihood for ads to appear alongside extremist content on X. The social-media site alleges the group’s test methodology did not represent how real, actual users experience the site.
The complaint stated that “Media Matters knowingly and maliciously manufactured side-by-side images depicting advertisers’ posts on X Corp.’s social media platform beside Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content and then portrayed these manufactured images as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform.”
The lawsuit also describes X as the “most prominent online platform dedicated to hosting free speech,” and how its “long been the target of Media Matters.”
The suit states that just in the last year, Media Matters has published a series of articles threatening X’s relationships with very large multinational advertisers and global publishers. The suit names Amazon, eBay, Major League Baseball, The New York Times Co., Samsung, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Office Depot, Nokia, Dish, Bayer, Tyson Foods, Honeywell, Discovery, FanDuel, Thermo Fisher, National Women’s Soccer League, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Atlanta Falcons, Manchester City, DraftKings, FanDuel, T-Mobile, and The Athletic.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino on Monday evening defended the social-media site.
“If you know me, you know I’m committed to truth and fairness,” Yaccarino posted. “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.”
The lawsuit comes after Musk seemed to publicly endorse a post on X that that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites.” Musk said he was just promoting free speech, which he describes in the filing.