Judge Tosses X's Lawsuit Against Online Hate Researchers

'This case is about punishing the Defendants for their speech'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2024 1:31 PM CDT
Judge Throws Out X's Lawsuit Against Nonprofit
X sued the nonprofit for documenting the increase in hate speech on the site after it was purchased by Elon Musk.   (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

A federal judge in California has thrown out X's lawsuit against an online hate research center, saying it was clearly filed as an attempt to punish the Center for Countering Digital Hate for criticizing Elon Musk's company. The lawsuit was filed after X accused the CCDH of trying to harm the company with research including a report that found 99 out of 100 posts promoting hate were not removed within four days of being reported.

  • Key lines. "Sometimes it is unclear what is driving a litigation, and only by reading between the lines of a complaint can one attempt to surmise a plaintiff's true purpose," District Court Judge Charles Breyer wrote. "Other times, a complaint is so unabashedly and vociferously about one thing that there can be no mistaking that purpose. This case represents the latter circumstance. This case is about punishing the Defendants for their speech."
  • "The Court notes, too, that X Corp.'s motivation in bringing this case is evident," Breyer wrote. "X Corp. has brought this case in order to punish CCDH for CCDH publications that criticized X Corp."

  • The lawsuit. The lawsuit, which sought millions of dollars in compensation for lost advertising, accused the center of "breach of contract, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, intentional interference with contractual relations, and inducing breach of contract," per Variety. It accused the CCDH of improperly using software to "scrape" the site for data, the AP reports. In a hearing last month, Breyer described parts of the case as one of the "most vapid extensions of law that I've ever heard."
  • Anti-SLAPP law. The case was dismissed under an anti-SLAPP—Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation—law designed to prevent "nuisance" lawsuits aimed at silencing companies' critics through intimidation, the Guardian reports.
  • Center's CEO speaks out. "Throughout Elon Musk's loud, hypocritical campaign of harassment, abuse, and lawfare designed to avoid taking responsibility for his own decisions, CCDH has remained quietly confident in the quality and integrity of our research and advocacy," Imran Ahmed, the CCDH's founder and CEO, said in a statement. "Our aim has always been to alert the world to corporate failures that undermine human rights and civil liberties."
(More X.com stories.)

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