The social media company X sued media watchdog group Media Matters on Mondayalleging that the organization defamed the platform after publishing a report alleging that ads from big brands had appeared alongside messages promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
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X, formerly known as Twitter, has been the subject of growing outrage since Media Matters published the report on Thursday, prompting IBM, Comcast and other big advertisers to pull their ads from the platform in response.
The report also came a day after X’s owner, Elon Muskexpressed agreement with a publication on the platform that He falsely claimed that Jews stoked hatred against whites.
In the lawsuit filed in a Texas district court, X claims Media Matters “manipulated” the platform of social networks using accounts that exclusively followed big brands or users known for producing extremist content, and “resorted to endlessly scrolling and updating” the channel until finding ads next to extremist publications.
The report of Media Matters misrepresented the typical experience at X “with the intent to harm X and its business,” the company said in the lawsuit.
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Media Matters president Angelo Carusone called it “frivolous” in an emailed statement and said it was “intended to intimidate X’s critics into silence.”
In an interview with Reuters Early Monday, Carusone said the nonprofit’s findings contradicted comments by X that it had introduced security protections to prevent ads from appearing next to harmful contents.
X said in the lawsuit on Monday that the ads IBM, Comcast and Oracle only appeared next to hateful content for one viewer, which the company said was Media Matters.
“Data wins over manipulation or accusations. Don’t let yourself be manipulated. Support X,” Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, posted on Monday.
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that his office was opening an investigation into Media Matters and was “extremely concerned” about allegations that the group manipulated X data.