X Makes Good on Elon Musk's 'Thermonuclear' Lawsuit

Social network sues Media Matters, which issued findings on antisemitic content
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2023 1:30 PM CST
Updated Nov 21, 2023 12:00 AM CST
Musk Threatens Lawsuit as Advertisers Cut Off X
Elon Musk appears at an event with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Nov. 2.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool, File)
UPDATE Nov 21, 2023 12:00 AM CST

Elon Musk on Monday followed through on his promise that X would sue Media Matters, the progressive watchdog organization that called out antisemitic content on the social network. "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," the complaint says, per CNN. "Media Matters designed both these images and its resulting media strategy to drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp." Media Matters called the lawsuit "frivolous" and says it looks forward to defending itself.

Nov 18, 2023 1:30 PM CST

Large media companies are among the advertisers rushing from X after Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on his site this week. The exodus accelerated after Media Matters for America issued a report saying that ads for the companies were appearing on X alongside posts in support of white nationalism and Nazism. Musk responded by calling the watchdog organization evil and saying it had gone looking for pro-Nazi content. He escalated his response early Saturday, the Guardian reports. "The split second court opens on Monday," Musk posted, "X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company."

The head of Media Matters told CNN, "If he does sue us, we will win." Angelo Carusone called Musk a bully who threatens lawsuits to discredit reporting that he knows is accurate. "Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified," he said. IBM suspended its advertising on Thursday, the day the advocacy group's report was released. The company had about about $1 million in ads scheduled through the end of the year, per the New York Times. The boycott now includes Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Comcast, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Discovery. Apple has stopped running ads as well, per Axios.

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Linda Yaccarino, the social media site's CEO, answered the outcry with a post Friday saying there's no place for antisemitism. And as advertisers were abandoning X, Musk posted an assurance that terms including "decolonization" and "from the river to the sea" imply genocide and that their use will bring a user's suspension. A White House statement denounced the post Musk had endorsed, per NBC News. Everyone, it said, has "an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the dignity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities." (More Elon Musk stories.)

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