Elon Musk’s social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has launched a defamation lawsuit against Media Matters in response to a contentious report alleging that major brand advertisements were shown alongside Nazi-promoting content.
What Happened: X lodged the lawsuit on Monday, shortly after Media Matters published the controversial report, according to a Reuters article. The report spurred several advertisers, including IBM and Comcast, to remove their ads from the platform.
X’s CEO, Elon Musk, had earlier signaled his intention to file a “thermonuclear” lawsuit against Media Matters and others involved in what he termed a “fraudulent attack” on the company.
Following Musk’s purchase of Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion, the platform experienced a significant exodus of advertisers, possibly linked to Musk’s controversial posts and the dismissal of content moderating staff.
X's Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino reaffirmed the company’s dedication to combating antisemitism and discrimination in a note to employees, even as some advertisers halted their investments after the report’s release.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone countered X’s claims of safety protections to prevent ads from being shown next to harmful content in an interview with Reuters, stating that ads are still visible alongside white nationalist content.
Why It Matters: The lawsuit follows a turbulent period for X. According to a Benzinga article, Musk had threatened Media Matters with a “thermonuclear lawsuit” for causing an advertiser exodus from X. This threat was made after Media Matters reported that ads from companies like Apple and IBM were appearing next to antisemitic posts on X.
On the same day, Musk expressed his displeasure towards IBM for withdrawing their ads from X, questioning IBM’s advertising policies on other platforms.
Despite the controversy, Musk remained steadfast, asserting his principles even as major companies pulled their advertisements from X, as reported by Benzinga on November on November 17, 2023.
Adding to the turmoil, advertisers privately urged X’s CEO Linda Yaccarino to resign amid the controversy. Despite this, Yaccarino refused calls for her resignation, standing by X’s mission and its team.
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