According to the lawsuit filed in Texas federal court, Media Matters conducted a "fraudulent attack" on X – leading to a substantial financial setback. This also resulted in influential corporations – such as Apple, Comcast, NBC Universal and IBM – withdrawing their advertising on the platform.
X Corp. accused Media Matters of deliberately interfering with the platform's contracts with advertisers; disseminating false statements that disparaging the quality of X Corp.'s services; and disrupted its economic relationships, resulting in monetary losses.
The complaint states that Media Matters knowingly and maliciously fabricated images juxtaposing advertisers' posts on X with Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content, falsely representing these images as typical user experiences on the platform. (Related: Twitter parent company X Corp sues Center for Countering Digital Hate over "scare campaign" that drove away advertisers.)
X asserts that Media Matters engineered a feed precision designed to produce side-by-side ad/content placements to alienate advertisers. The lawsuit accuses Media Matters of manipulating the situation, generating an inauthentic volume of advertisements to achieve the desired result: controversial content next to X's major advertisers' paid posts.
Seeking redress for alleged misconduct, X is pursuing actual and consequential damages, a preliminary and permanent injunction to remove the contentious article from all Media Matters-controlled platforms, and recovery of costs and attorney's fees. The case has been assigned to District Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee known for previous involvement in significant legal battles.
Elon Musk, the owner of X, had previously declared his intention to pursue a legal course, describing it as a "thermonuclear lawsuit" against Media Matters and all entities involved in the alleged fraudulent attack.
Meanwhile, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone dismissed Musk's claims as attempts to stifle accurate reporting, promising to defend the group against the complaint. He said Musk had admitted that the ads in question ran alongside the pro-Nazi content identified by the group.
While the X owner does not dispute the results of Media Matters' analysis, the lawsuit focuses on the group's methodology. It is alleging that Media Matters created a test account and manipulated X's advertising systems to run ads beside extremist content, a situation unlikely to occur in the real world.
Legal experts have criticized X's complaint as weak and opportunistic, filed in a court likely to favor Musk. Some see the lawsuit as more symbolic than substantive, with critics highlighting its potential to backfire and expose sensitive information about X during the discovery process.
"It's one of the lawsuits that's filed for symbolism than for substance – as reflected in just how empty the allegations really are, and in where Musk chose to file, singling out the ultra-conservative Northern District of Texas despite its absence of any logical connection o to the dispute," said law professor Steve Vladeck. "The choice of venue can best be described as trying to shore up a weak claim on the merits with a bench more likely to sympathetic even to weak claims."
Joan Donovan, a professor of journalism and emerging media studies at Boston University, said: "X does admit the ads were shown next to hateful content, but argues it was 'rare.' This is the same strategy employed by advertisers that got YouTube to demonetize political content in 2017."
Visit ElonMuskWatch.com for more stories about the X platform (formerly Twitter).
Watch Emerald Robinson talk about X Corp.'s lawsuit against Media Matters below.
This video is from The Absolute Truth w/ Emerald channel on Brighteon.com.