X Corp. Urges Judge To Allow Lawsuit Over Watchdog's Alleged 'Vigilantism'

An anti-hate speech organization engaged in “vigilantism” by allegedly scraping data from X Corp., the social platform claims in recent court papers.

“Vigilantism, no matter what the underlying motivation, erodes the rule of law,” X Corp. (formerly Twitter) says in papers filed late last week with U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California.

The company is asking Breyer to reject the Center for Countering Digital Hate's (CCDH) request to dismiss claims that it wrongly scraped data for a supposed “scare campaign” aimed at driving away advertisers and suppressing speech on social media. The complaint also alleged that the nonprofit induced a third party to share log-in credentials to Brandwatch -- a Twitter partner that offers tools to analyze the company's data.

X Corp. sued CCDH shortly after it reported that Twitter failed to remove objectionable speech -- including racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments -- posted by paid Twitter Blue subscribers. That report cited several examples, such as the posts “Diversity is a codeword for White Genocide,” and “Trannies are pedophiles.”



X Corp. -- which has seen ad revenue plummet since its acquisition by Elon Musk last year -- didn't deny that those posts were on the platform, but accused the watchdog of cherry picking its examples. 

The company's complaint includes claims that CCDH violated the platform's terms of service and a federal anti-hacking law. 

The anti-hate speech group recently countered that most of the accusations -- including claims that it violated X's terms of service -- centered on “quintessential newsgathering activity,” and should be struck down under California's anti-SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) law. That statute entitles defendants to fast dismissals of claims based on statements about matters of public interest, and also allows defendants to recover attorneys' fees.

X Corp. is now asking Breyer to reject that contention.

“This case is not about CCDH’s speech,” X Corp. writes, adding that its claims center on a “course of conduct that tesulted in CCDH gaining unauthorized access to non-public data.”

Breyer is expected to hold a hearing in the matter on February 23.

Next story loading loading..