Elon Musk's X Lawsuit Against the Hate Speech is Dismissed by a US Court

By Consultants Review Team Tuesday, 26 March 2024

Elon Musk's X Corporation filed a lawsuit against the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has tracked the rise in hate speech on the website since the Tesla owner purchased it, but the judge dismissed the case. Formerly known as Twitter, X had claimed that the center's researchers had unlawfully compiled public tweets in violation of the site's rules of service, and that the company had lost millions of dollars as a result of sponsors fleeing its findings on the rise in hate speech.

Judge Charles Breyer of the US District Court rejected the lawsuit on Monday, stating in his ruling that it was "unabashedly and vociferously about one thing" and penalizing the nonprofit organization for its speech.

According to X, the charity "scraped" its website for data, in violation of its terms of service. The judge, however, determined that X had not "allege losses based on technological harms" —that is, the business had not demonstrated how the scrape caused X to suffer financial losses.

X had demanded millions of dollars in damages, claiming that the reports from the organization caused advertisers to leave and resulted in a decrease in ad income.  However, the judge accepted CCDH's contention that X could not base its claim for damages for independent third-party conduct on CCDH's findings, or its "speech."

With offices in both the US and the UK, the center is a nonprofit organization. Reports on hate speech, extremism, and destructive behavior on Facebook, TikTok, and X are often published by it. The group has released multiple reports that are critical of Musk's leadership, highlighting an increase in hate speech against LGBTQ people and false information about climate change since his acquisition.
Social media company X said in a statement that it "disagrees with the court's decision and plans to appeal."

The center is a nonprofit organization having offices in the US and the UK. It frequently releases findings on extremism, hate speech, and negative behavior on Facebook, TikTok, and other social media sites. The group has released multiple studies that are critical of Musk's leadership, highlighting the growth in climate disinformation and anti-LGBTQ hate speech that has occurred since his acquisition.
The social media site made a statement on X stating that it "disagrees with the court's decision and plans to appeal."

The center's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, claimed that X's lawsuit was dismissed because it demonstrated that "even the wealthiest man cannot bend the rule of law to his will."

Not just the center has brought attention to the increase in hateful content on X since Musk's acquisition in October 2022. Following a revelation by the leftist advocacy group Media Matters claiming that their advertisements were running alongside content endorsing Nazis, a number of prominent advertisers, including IBM, NBCUniversal, and its parent firm Comcast, announced in November of last year that they had ceased running their ads on X. In an attempt to regain large businesses and their advertising dollars—X's primary source of income—it was just another setback. Additionally, X sued Media Matters.

Later that month, Musk unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against advertisers who had stopped funding X because of antisemitic and other offensive content. He claimed that the advertisers were "blackmailing" him and effectively told him to shut up.

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