After major advertisers halted their spending on companies appeared alongside anti-Semitic content.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Texas federal court, alleges that the media watchdog group “knowingly and maliciously crafted” the report to deceive advertisers into believing the ad combinations were organic. X is seeking monetary damages, as well as an injunction directing Media Matters to “immediately remove” the report that led to the advertiser exodus.
The filing of the lawsuit comes after Musk posted on Saturday that X would file a “thermonuclear” complaint against Media Matters. The message came in response to the organization’s findings that the platform was posting ads for major companies such as Apple, NBCUniversal, IBM, Bravo and Oracle “alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.” Many of these companies – plus Apple, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal – halted ad spending on the service.
Media Matters did not respond to a request for comment.
The complaint focuses on allegations that the organization “systematically manipulated X user experience” to issue its report. The social media service claims that Media Matters artificially crafted the findings by leveraging user features.
“Media Matters did not find any links that X passively allowed on the platform,” the lawsuit said. “Media Matters created these combinations in secret, to create the damaging perception that X is at best an incompetent content moderator, or worse, that X was somehow indifferent or even encouraging of Nazi and racist ideology. ”
According to the complaint, users control the content of their feeds by showing interest in certain topics, which in turn generates ads related to those topics. X objects to the fact that Media Matters regards an ‘extraordinary (and demonstrably) rare’ advertising combination as everyday. It points to the methodology in the report in which the group created a profile that followed just 30 accounts from fringe figures or major national brands, which would have tricked the algorithm into thinking the user “wanted to see both hateful content and content from major advertisers . ”
“Media Matters exploited these features by creating a secret are created,” John Sullivan, an attorney for X, writes in the lawsuit.
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X claims that Media Matters “intended to harm its revenue stream” because it is “the most prominent online platform that allows users to share all views, whether liberal or conservative.”
The complaint alleges interference with contracts, business contempt and interference with future economic advantage.