Missouri AG investigating Media Matters after Elon Musk claimed it gamed servers for X hit piece
11/22/2023 // Cassie B. // Views

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that his office is launching an investigation of the media watchdog group Media Matters for America in connection with its actions in creating a hit piece on X owner and tech billionaire Elon Musk.

Elon Musk has also threatened to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters after they published their report, which cast X (formerly Twitter) in a negative light amid the exodus of several major brands who had been advertising on the social media platform.

The drama was set in motion by a Media Matters report published on Thursday that showed how ads for several prominent mainstream brands on X had been running alongside posts from users who expressed white supremacist viewpoints.

A slew of major firms, including Apple, Disney, Paramount, Lionsgate and IBM, have said they will leave X, while the European Union announced it would stop advertising on the platform.

X spokesperson Joe Benarroch explained in a company blog post what happened from their point of view and how Media Matters misrepresented the reality of how the platform works. He noted: ?Media Matters created an alternate X account and deliberately followed sensitive accounts to curate posts and get advertising to appear on the account’s timeline to then misinform advertisers about the placement of their posts. These contrived experiences could be created on any social media platform.”

According to X, reporters from Media Matters curated an account to look at various white supremacist content and then refreshed their feeds on a repeated basis until they could get certain rare instances of ads to appear next to the content to support their story. Musk noted that of the 5.5 billion ad impressions on X each day, only 50 appeared on the specific content Media Matters showcased in its report.

On Friday night, Musk wrote on X: “The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.”

He went on to add: “Their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them...” and said in other tweets that “the discovery and depositions will be glorious to behold.”

Attorney General Bailey’s office will be investigating the allegations that Media Matters created social media accounts to game the platform’s servers and create false impressions.

After Musk asked conservative attorneys general in the U.S. to investigate Media Matters on X, Bailey responded: “My team is looking into this matter.”

Bailey is known for defending the First Amendment, suing the Biden administration over violations of free speech and filing a joint-amicus brief with a group of other attorneys general against the gag order on former President Donald Trump related to his January 6 case.

Musk admonished by White House for anti-semitic posts

Media Matters’ report came after Musk agreed with a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people had been promoting “dialectical hatred” against white people; he responded that the post was “the actual truth”, leading to backlash from brands that use and advertise on the platform as well as the White House.

The White House even went so far as to admonish Musk, saying his actions were an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate” that run “against our core values as Americans.”

It is not yet known if Musk will follow through on his threat to file the suit or under which jurisdiction as X is based in San Francisco and Media Matters is based in Washington, D.C.

The president of Media Matters, Angelo Carusone, said the company is prepared for any legal action Musk might be considering. He said in a statement: “Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.”

Sources for this article include:



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