Shortly after taking control of the social media site then known as Twitter, Elon Musk facilitated the release of internal communications from before his acquisition of the company that revealed widespread pressure to de-emphasize and even censor certain types of speech.
Musk has since embraced policies that have arguably allowed more robust freedom of expression on the platform, now called X, and he recently highlighted the tactics one group is using in an apparent effort to coerce him into employing a more heavy-handed moderation policy.
Under the guise of combatting perceived misinformation or hateful conduct, the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate conducts reviews of social media platforms and levels accusations against those that do not sufficiently root out what it considers problematic content.
X has become a clear target of the organization, which published a comprehensive report that included eight separate research papers detailing the platform’s supposed shortcomings.
One of the most notable allegations is that Musk’s company did not take action against 99% of the verified “Twitter Blue” accounts CCDH determined had posted hate speech.
Of course, Musk sees the situation much differently, as he detailed in a letter to the organization that included the threat of possible legal action over claims that he described as “false, misleading or both.”
Subsequent court documents indicate that X has already filed the complaint.
NEWS: X/Twitter has filed a 23-page legal complaint against the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Here’s a summary of the key allegations of the filing:
— X News Daily (@xDaily) August 1, 2023
He accused the group of receiving money from foreign governments and/or X’s competitors and taking action “in support of an ulterior agenda.”
Furthermore, Musk claimed the research was conducted and released in hopes of attacking his company’s primary source of revenue. His letter called out CCDH for “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically.”
It is unclear to what extent the organization’s report might have damaged X’s ad sales, but evidence shows that the company’s advertising revenue is down significantly since Musk purchased the company. In April, such revenue was nearly 60% lower than it was at the same point last year.
Musk has threatened legal action against other entities in recent weeks, including Microsoft, which he accused of improperly using his company’s data, and Meta, which launched a copycat Twitter platform called Threads.