X sues Media Matters over search ads alongside anti-Semitic posts

Social media service X, formerly known as Twitter, sued Media Matters in federal court on Monday after the advocacy organization published research showing that ads on X appeared next to anti-Semitic content.

Elon Musk’s post last week endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, which he wrote a day before the Media Matters research was published, led to a mass exodus of advertisers, with major brands like IBM, Apple, and Warner Bros. halting their sales. Discovery and Sony are spending it temporarily. On the platform.

Company X rejected Media Matters’ findings, saying they did not represent the normal user experience on the platform. On Friday, Mr Musk promised to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters and its backers.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that Media Matters attempted to harm X’s relationships with advertisers. “Media Matters manipulated the algorithms that govern the user experience on: “Inorganic and extremely rare.”

“This is a frivolous lawsuit designed to silence critics of X,” Angelo Carosone, president of Media Matters, said in a statement. He added that his organization “stands behind its reports and looks forward to winning in court.”

On Monday night, Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General also announced that his office would open an investigation into Media Matters for “possible fraudulent activity.”

Brands have been reluctant to advertise on X since Mr. Musk bought the company a year ago and said he would relax its content moderation policies. X has sought to lure reluctant advertisers back to the platform, an initiative overseen by Linda Yaccarino, a longtime advertising executive who became X’s CEO in June.

But Mr. Musk Posted on Wednesday in which he approved a post from the X account accusing Jewish communities of pushing “anti-white hate that they claim they want people to stop using against them,” was a setback.

“You told the actual truth, Mr. Musk.” He replied To this post.

Jewish groups quickly condemned the statement endorsed by Mr. Musk, likening it to “The great substitution theory”, a conspiracy theory that claims minorities are replacing white European populations as part of a coordinated effort by Jewish people. The White House condemned Mr. Musk’s remark, and major brands quickly pulled their advertising for X.

Mr. Musk said In a post to X on Sunday Claims that he was anti-Semitic are untrue. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote.

In Company X’s lawsuit, it asked the court to order Media Matters to remove its published research. The lawsuit also seeks unspecified monetary damages and attorneys’ fees.

Ms. Yaccarino said in a statement that the X account used by Media Matters in its research was the only account that saw some ads next to the anti-Semitic posts in question. She added that in Apple’s case, its ad was placed next to an anti-Semitic post and was seen by another user.

“If you know me, you know I am committed to truth and fairness,” Ms. Yaccarino said in a speech. Share on X. “Data wins over manipulation or claims. Don’t be manipulated. Stand with X.”

During an all-staff meeting on Monday, Ms. Yaccarino said she had discussed the issue with advertisers and was committed to defending X, according to audio heard by The New York Times at the meeting. She added that in those conversations, some advertisers asked her to be more communicative about the issues they face, and to share more data about how ads are running on the platform.

“We want to work with all of our partners who stand with us and believe in the power and necessity of freedom of expression,” Ms. Yaccarino said. “Sometimes, in life and in business, standing up for your values ​​is really the exact thing that makes leaders, and we will stick to that and keep moving forward. No critic will ever deter us from our mission to keep fighting and protecting freedom of expression.”.

In the roughly 30-minute meeting, Ms. Yaccarino focused the blame on Media Matters and did not address Mr. Musk’s anti-Semitic endorsement of the post.

She also encouraged employees to be frugal during a period of declining revenue caused by an advertiser’s downtime and to think of ways the company could bring in more money.

“I would say I would be as financially responsible as possible,” the CEO told her staff. “This includes a range of trips that are necessary and necessary just to be a good steward of anything that might be related to expenses in the company.”

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