Musk-Owned X Corp. Sues Hate Speech-Tracking Nonprofit Over Alleged Lost Ad Dollars

Twitter’s parent company is going after the Center for Countering Digital Hate in response to research showing a hate speech uptick on the platform 

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s X Corp. is officially suing hate speech tracking nonprofit, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, for publishing unfavorable research regarding Twitter, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate received a letter sent by X Corp., Twitter’s parent company, on July 20 that accused the nonprofit of intentionally hurting the social media platform’s advertising business with the research being published. The CCDH monitors hate speech and misinformation that proliferates across social media. 

Musk-owned X Corp. claimed that CCDH made  “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally and its digital advertising business specifically.”

The research referenced is a study by CCDH that was conducted in June, which found that Twitter had taken no action against 99% of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts that were tweeting what could be considered hate speech. According to X Corp., the research is “false, misleading or both,” and is being funded by competitors “in support of an ulterior agenda.”

According to Tuesday’s legal filing, X Corp. claims that “In direct response to CCDH’s efforts, some companies have paused their advertising,” on the social media platform. “CCDH’s unlawful conduct as alleged herein has directly and proximately damaged X Corp. in an amount to be proven at trial, but in any event at least tens of millions of dollars that X Corp. estimates it has lost in advertising revenues and other costs incurred,” the filing continues. 

“CCDH’s scare campaign to global advertisers and its ongoing pressure on brands is an attempt to stifle freedom of speech on the X platform,” argues the lawsuit. 

In response to the lawsuit, CCDH founder and CEO Imran Ahmed argued that “Elon Musk’s latest legal threat is straight out of the authoritarian playbook.” 

“He is now showing he will stop at nothing to silence anyone who criticizes him for his own decisions and actions,” continued Ahmed. The CCDH’s “research shows that hate and disinformation is spreading like wildfire on the platform under Musk’s ownership.” 

“This lawsuit is a direct attempt to silence those efforts,” said the CCDH CEO. 

“Musk is trying to ‘shoot the messenger’ who highlights the toxic content on his platform rather than deal with the toxic environment he’s created,” said Ahmed. 

“The CCDH’s independent research won’t stop – Musk will not bully us into silence,” he concluded.