December 8, 2023

X Launches Lawsuit against Media Matters After Advertiser Exodus

In response to the advertiser exodus where Elon Musk’s X lost some of the largest global advertisers last week, the company has lashed back at Media Matters by filing a lawsuit against the progressive watchdog group.

The lawsuit was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, where X accused Media Matters of deliberately manipulating data to depict the presence of antisemitic and pro-Nazi content on X. This eventually led to the advertiser exodus, a crisis that X currently finds itself strangled in.

The complaint accuses Media Matters of engaging in manipulative tactics, creating misleading images side-by-side to portray that advertisements from the reputed brands were being placed alongside pro-Nazi content.

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.Lawsuit

The lawsuit further claims these images were deliberately designed to push advertisers away from the platform. The lawsuit names the senior investigative reporter of Media Matters, Eric Hananoki, as well as the watchdog group as defendants.

The lawsuit further demanded a judicial order that would force the watchdog group to take down the analysis from its website. It also alleged that Media Matters meddled with the contracts that X had with its advertisers, which eventually affected the company financially.

Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, stated that the images that Media Matters presented didn’t show the actual experience of authentic users on the platform.

In the lawsuit, X further stated that advertisements for IBM, Oracle, and Comcast appeared alongside objectionable content only for Media Matters and no other user.

Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, stated that they would find out whether Media Matter’s approach to evaluating the content on X involved any fraudulent activity. He also labeled Media Matters a “radical left-wing organization” that was likely to curb freedom of expression.

Angelo Carusone, the President of Media Matters, responded to the legal action from X. Criticizing the social media giant, he dubbed their action a “frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence”.

Legal experts have come up with a mixed reaction to the lawsuit. While some consider it to be weak, others feel that it has been filed in court, which is likely to be sympathetic to Musk. 

He also expressed his commitment to stand by Media Matters and win the lawsuit at the court.

The lawsuit comes in the wake of a significant advertiser exodus from X, including major companies like IBM, Disney, Apple, and Comcast. The controversy erupted when Elon Musk endorsed a claim on the platform suggesting that Jewish communities promote “hatred against Whites”.

Musk had earlier hinted at legal action against Media Matters, threatening a ‘thermonuclear lawsuit’ for the ‘fraudulent attack’ on X.

Mark Pittman, the District Judge, has been assigned to the case, and he is known to be involved in significant legal battles. As the legal debate takes shape, it remains to be seen whether X can wrest its way out of the advertiser exodus crisis.

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