Twitter/X is suing the media watchdog group Media Matters over its Nov. 16 report that the social media platform displayed ads from major companies alongside Nazi content. The report came just one day after Twitter/X owner Elon Musk endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy, prompting huge advertisers like Apple and Disney to flee.
Filed in Texas on Monday, the Twitter/X lawsuit accuses Media Matters of “fabricating” the screenshots in its report that show advertiser posts alongside white nationalist content. According to Twitter/X, this was done as a deliberate, malicious attack to “drive advertisers off the platform and destroy X Corp.”
X advertisers reported to have pulled ads recently: See the list, including Disney and Apple.
“Second trial starts Monday, X Corp will file a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those involved in this fraudulent attack on our company,” Musk posted on Twitter / X over the weekend.
Unfortunately for Musk, the “thermonuclear” nature of his case is highly controversial.
What is the Twitter / X v. Media Matter case about?
Twitter/X is not claiming that the screenshots in the recent Media Matters report are fake or created using image-editing software. In fact, he confirms them as real, confirming that Media Matters has indeed seen Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity, and IBM ads next to posts glorifying Nazism on Twitter / X.
Instead, the lawsuit alleges that Media Matters was able to see advertisers’ content next to Nazi content by using profiles that had been active for more than 30 days, “bypassing X’s ad filter for new users” and only following accounts from prominent advertisers or “those known to produce extreme fringe content.” The social media platform also alleged that Media Matters scrolled and refreshed its feed excessively, resulting in more ads being viewed per hour than most users.
Twitter/X is seeking damages as well as removal of the Media Matters report, which will no doubt cause many more people to read it.
Not quite “thermonuclear”
The lawsuit attempts to characterize Media Matter’s use of Twitter/X as manipulation of the platform’s algorithm and claims the results were “inorganic” and “infrequent.” However, this does not negate the fact that advertisers and Nazi content were shown side by side. It’s also not impossible for an established user to follow accounts of both white supremacists and big brands.
Other Twitter/X users have since reported ads are displayed when searching for anti-Semitic phrasesincluding posts from the German governmentan Israel Oil and Gas CompanyNew Jersey Tourism and The Athletic.
Interestingly, Twitter/X’s claim that Media Matters followed accounts “known to produce extreme fringe content” further indicates that the platform has allowed such accounts to continue posting white supremacist content for long enough. to gain fame. As of this writing, half of the Media Matters accounts caught on screen posting Nazi content still remain active.
Tweet may have been deleted
Amidst all this, Twitter / X CEO Linda Yaccarino confirmed that the platform did indeed show posts from major advertisers next to white racist content, but tried to downplay it, saying that almost no one saw it.
“No authentic X users saw IBM, Comcast, or Oracle ads next to the content in the Media Matters article,” Yaccarino posted on Monday. “Only 2 users saw the Apple ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters.”
However, the objections are probably less about how many people saw it and more about it being an option in the first place.
Twitter / X is looking for a scapegoat
Combined with Musk’s recent comments supporting the conspiracy theory that Jews are sowing hatred against white people, it’s not hard to see why advertisers like IBM, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global halt ads on Twitter / X.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit designed to silence X’s critics,” Media Matters president Angelo Carusone wrote on Twitter / X. “Media Matters stands by its reports and looks forward to winning in court.”
Tweet may have been deleted
This isn’t the first time brands have pulled their Twitter/X ads because of Nazi content. In August, pharmaceutical giant Gilead and NCTA — the Internet and Television Association — stopped advertising on Twitter/X after a previous Media Matters report found ads running on white supremacist content. Along with Gilead, the report specifically names several other companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Fortune, MLB, Samsung and Sports Illustrated.
However, the loss of giants like Apple and Disney seems to be enough for Twitter/X to try to make Media Matters a scapegoat — and hope that the courts will simply ignore its advertiser-unfriendly policies and Musk’s own statements.