Twitter’s parent company, X. Corp, sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate, alleging it “engaged in a fearmongering campaign to keep advertisers off the platform.”
Lawyers for Elon Musk’s company have claimed the nonprofit, which opposes online hate speech, obtained data from the platform “illegally” and then used it “taken out of context…to make it look like X is overwhelmed with harmful content”.
The CCHR then “used this contrived narrative to call on companies to stop advertising X,” according to the lawsuit. Twitter is currently being rebranded as X as part of a sweeping corporate overhaul.
X filed the lawsuit on Monday evening, hours after the CCHR revealed it had received a legal letter from the company threatening legal action for a report that claimed the platform “fails to act on 99% of Twitter Blue accounts tweeting hate”.
X’s lawyers accused him of a series of “disturbing and baseless allegations” intended to “harm Twitter’s business”. The CCDH accused X of “ridiculous” and “frivolous” allegations intended to “intimidate thoughtful critics”.
Center for Countering Digital Hate CEO Imran Ahmed said ‘Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest critics and independent research’
Lawyers for X Corp. of Elon Musk claim CCHR, which opposes online hate speech, obtained data from the platform ‘illegally’ and then used it ‘out of context…to make X seem overwhelmed by harmful content”.
Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said “Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research.”
X’s lawsuit alleges breach of contract, violation of computer fraud and abuse law, and international interference in contractual relationships.
The lawsuit states that CCHR “deleted data from X’s platform in violation of the express terms of its (user) agreement” and also improperly used a third-party analytics platform to perform research.
“The underhand behavior of the CCDH is not new. He has a history of using similar tactics not in an effort to fight hate, but rather to censor a wide range of views on social media that he disagrees with,” he said. he declared.
X also claimed that the CCDH is “funded and supported by unknown organizations, individuals, and potentially even foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies.” The CCDH denies receiving funding from governments or technology companies.
In the letter to CCHR before the trial, X Corp had cited a June CCDH report suggesting that Twitter allows Twitter Blue followers to “break its rules with impunity”.
The CCHR said it reported 100 “hateful” tweets in its study – including examples of racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism – but 99 of them were still online four days later.
X Corp. attorney Alex Spiro wrote: “The article cites no sources other than different and equally worn posts on CCHR’s own website, and does not identify the qualifications of any of them. researchers who worked on the article.”
“In other words, the article is little more than a series of inflammatory, misleading and unsubstantiated claims based on a cursory examination of random tweets.”
CCHR hit back on Monday with a response from its attorneys saying the letter from X Corp. was “ridiculous” and that the “frivolous allegations” were an attempt “to intimidate thoughtful critics”.
“We caution against any further attempts by X Corp. to threaten or intimidate our customers,” the letter said. A few hours later, the complaint was filed.
The legal battle comes as Musk attempts to rebrand Twitter, which he bought in October for $44 billion, while facing a roughly 50% drop in ad revenue.
The initial letter from X Corp. to the CCDH quoted a Time article which reported that advertisers left the platform after Musk’s acquisition and that recent “content policy changes” had led to an increase in “hateful, violent and inaccurate posts”.
The lawsuit came after X sent a letter to CCHR on July 20, 2023 alleging the nonprofit was “supported by funding from business competitors of X Corp., as well as government entities and their affiliates.” .
The war of words comes as Musk attempts to rebrand Twitter, which he bought in October for $44 billion, while facing a roughly 50% drop in ad revenue.
A New York Times A May article also said advertising had fallen 59% and Twitter employees feared advertisers would be “scared off” by changes to the platform.
THE study by the CCHR discovered 100 tweets from followers of the Twitter Blue service that “clearly violate the platform’s policies against hateful conduct”.
Tweets highlighted in the report included racism, anti-Semitism, praising Adolf Hitler and suggesting that LGBT activists should be shot.
The study alleged that four days after reporting the tweets, only one was deleted and all accounts remained active.
X claimed the study was a “sketchy review of random tweets”, provided “no methodology” and “no explanation why the 100 tweets chosen represent an appropriate sample of the nearly 500 million tweets sent per day from which to generalize the platform’s content moderation practices”.
The letter further alleged that the CCDH was “backed by funding from X Corp.’s business competitors, as well as government entities and their subsidiaries.”
The CCHR said it “does not accept any funding from technology companies, governments or their affiliates.”
His response said he is “fully prepared to defend himself” if X Corp. take legal action.