X sues Media Matters to silence moderation criticism

Almost simultaneously, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opened an investigation In Media Questions for “potential fraudulent activity”. Musk posted the news on his X account, stating that “fraud carries civil and criminal penalties”. Musk previously responded to a tweet from former Trump adviser Stephen Miller who suggested conservative attorneys general (like Paxton) look into fraud charges.

Neither Paxton nor Media Questions falsely claimed to see ads for pro-Nazi content. In fact, the lawsuit confirms that the screenshots posted by the organization are real. But it alleges that the organization “manipulated” the service so that “Media Questions manipulated the algorithms governing the user experience on They really are: manufactured, inorganic and extraordinarily rare. The alleged manipulation involved creating an account that exclusively followed a combination of big brands and extremist content, then “endlessly scrolling and refreshing its unrepresentative, hand-curated feed” until he notes a confluence of the two.

“We will continue our work without being discouraged. »

The lawsuit accuses Media Questions interference with contract, trade disparagement and interference with potential economic advantage – claims that could be difficult to prove given the First Amendment’s high bar for prosecution. (Musk is famous beat a defamation suit after falsely calling one of his critics a “pedophile.”) “We will continue our work undeterred. If he sues us, we will win,” said the organization’s president, Angelo Carusone. The edge in a previous statement, claiming that “Elon Musk has spent the past few days making baseless legal threats, conjuring up bizarre conspiracy theories, and launching vicious personal attacks against his online ‘enemies.’ Carusone reiterated that sentiment after the complaint was filed. “This is a frivolous lawsuit designed to intimidate critics of X into silence,” he said. “Media Questions supports his reporting and looks forward to winning in court.

However, as one of the richest men in the world, Musk has enormous resources at his disposal – and X appears to be forum shopping to increase his chances. The company filed a lawsuit in Texas, which is neither its own nor Media matters main place of activity. As legal blogger Ken White noteda Texas filing protects X from allegations that it filed a strategic lawsuit against public participation (or RIDE), which he could face in his home port, California. Another organization that X suedthe Center for Combating Digital Hate, recently responded with an anti-SLAPP motion in this state. Moving the trial also puts it under Fifth Circuit Court of Appealswhich proved Very kind to conservative figures who claim to have been censored – something Musk has made part of his advertising strategy around

Yaccarino, meanwhile, insisted that advertisers are not permanently withdrawing their presence on conversations today,” she told employees during an all-hands meeting after the trial. according to Fortune. But she suggested employees “be as financially responsible as possible” to offset potential losses from advertisers and urged them to “by all means, come together to bring new revenue into the business.”

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET: Added declaration of Media matters.

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