Judge Tosses Elon Musk’s X Lawsuit Against Hate Speech-Tracking Nonprofit 

“X Corp. has brought this case in order to punish CCDH,” a federal judge writes in the ruling

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk during an in-conversation event with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Lancaster House in London, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. Sunak discussed AI with Elon Musk in a conversation that is played on the social network X, which Musk owns.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by Elon Musk’s X Corp. against the hate speech-tracking nonprofit organization Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), ruling Monday that the lawsuit was an effort to silence the platform’s critics. 

“X Corp. has brought this case in order to punish CCDH for CCDH publications that criticized X Corp. — and perhaps in order to dissuade others who might wish to engage in such criticism,” U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer wrote in the ruling. 

X sued the nonprofit in July after the organization published a series of reports critical of the site under the ownership of Musk, specifically relating to the proliferation of hate speech on the platform. Musk argued that the reports cost X Corp. millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue. 

“Sometimes it is unclear what is driving a litigation, and only by reading between the lines of a complaint can one attempt to surmise a plaintiff’s true purpose,” Breyer wrote in the ruling. “Other times, a complaint is so unabashedly and vociferously about one thing that there can be no mistaking that purpose. This case represents the latter circumstance. This case is about punishing the Defendants for their speech.”

Breyer dismissed the lawsuit under California’s laws against SLAPPs, strategic lawsuits against public participation. 

Imran Ahmed, CCDH’s CEO praised the ruling in a statement saying, “The courts today have affirmed our fundamental right to research, to speak, to advocate, and to hold accountable social media companies for decisions they make behind closed doors that affect our kids, our democracy, and our fundamental human rights and civil liberties.

“Throughout Elon Musk’s loud, hypocritical campaign of harassment, abuse, and lawfare designed to avoid taking responsibility for his own decisions, CCDH has remained quietly confident in the quality and integrity of our research and advocacy,” Ahmed added. 

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