US judge dismisses lawsuit by Musk’s

X had sought millions of dollars in damages, arguing that the nonprofit’s reports led to the exodus of advertisers and the loss of advertising revenue. Photo: Bloomberg

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from Elon Musk’s X Corp. against the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has documented the increase in hate speech on the site since it was taken over by the Tesla owner.

X, formerly known as Twitter, had argued that the center’s researchers had violated the site’s terms of service by inappropriately compiling public tweets, and that subsequent reports on the rise of hate speech had cost fled.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer dismissed the suit, writing in his order that it was brazenly and vociferously about one thing: punishing the nonprofit for its speech.

X had claimed that the nonprofit was mining its site for data, which violates its terms of service. But the judge ruled that

X had sought millions of dollars in damages, arguing that the nonprofit’s reports led to the exodus of advertisers and the loss of advertising revenue.

But the judge agreed with CCDH’s argument and said that X cannot claim damages for the independent actions of third parties based on CCDH’s reports or its speech.

The center is a non-profit organization with offices in the US and the UK. It regularly publishes messages about hate speech, extremism or harmful behavior on social media platforms such as X, TikTok or Facebook. The organization has published several reports criticizing Musk’s leadership, detailing an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate speech and climate misinformation since his purchase.

In a statement on X, the social media platform said it disagrees with the court’s decision and plans to appeal.

Imran Ahmed, the center’s founder and CEO, said the lawsuit amounted to a hypocritical campaign of intimidation by a billionaire who talks about protecting freedom of expression but then uses his wealth to silence his critics . He said the lawsuit shows the need for a federal law requiring tech companies to release more information about their activities so the public can understand how these powerful platforms shape society.

We hope this groundbreaking ruling will encourage researchers around the world to continue and even intensify their vital work of holding social media companies accountable for the hate and disinformation they host and the harm they cause, Ahmed said.

Roberta Kaplan, the center’s attorney, said the dismissal of X’s lawsuit shows that even the richest man cannot bend the rule of law to his will.

We live in an age of bullies, and it is social media that gives them the power they have today, Kaplan said in an email to reporters. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to these bullies; it takes an organization like the Center for Countering Digital Hate. We are proud and honored to represent CCDH.

The center isn’t the only group that has pointed to the rise of hateful material on According to a report by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters, their ads appeared alongside material praising Nazis. It was yet another setback as X tried to win back big brands and their advertising dollars, X’s main source of revenue. X has also sued Media Matters.

Later that month, Musk went on a diatribe-filled rant in response to advertisers who stopped spending on had to leave.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

First print: March 25, 2024 | 11:59 PM IST