Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, formerly known as Twitter, has filed a lawsuit against Media Matters for America over allegations that the media watchdog had used deceiving tactics to give the impression that advertisements from major corporations were appearing alongside controversial content. Musk had announced the lawsuit over the weekend while responding to Media Matters’ allegations.
Media Matters’ report, which came amidst allegations that Musk was antisemitic, resulted in several prominent advertisers pausing their campaigns on the social media platform. Among the companies that opted to pause their ads on X were Apple, IBM, Disney, and Paramount.
Over the weekend, Musk argued on Twitter that Media Matters’ report involved the manipulation of X’s system so that the media watchdog could give the impression that the social media platform was rife with extremist content. X Corp. described the matter in its lawsuit. The complaint also described the alleged steps that Media Matters took to achieve its findings. The steps, as argued by X Corp., were not representative of the typical user experience on X.
“Looking to portray X’s social networking platform as being dominated by ‘white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,’ 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.
“Media Matters accessed accounts that had been active for at least 30 days, bypassing X’s ad filter for new users. Media Matters then exclusively followed a small subset of users consisting entirely of accounts in one of two categories: those known to produce extreme, fringe content, and accounts owned by X’s big-name advertisers. The end result was a feed precision-designed by Media Matters for a single purpose: to produce side-by-side ad/content placements that it could screenshot in an effort to alienate advertisers. But this activity still was not enough to create the pairings of advertisements and content that Media Matters aimed to produce.
“Media Matters therefore resorted to endlessly scrolling and refreshing its unrepresentative, hand-selected feed, generating between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than viewed by the average X user repeating this inauthentic activity until it finally received pages containing the result it wanted: controversial content next to X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts,” the lawsuit read.
Below is X Corp.’s lawsuit against Media Matters.
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