X, formerly known as Twitter, sued Media Matters for America in federal court for defamation Monday.
The social media site accuses the left-wing media watchdog of manufacturing images showing advertisements from major corporations alongside posts made by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the 15-page complaint filed in the United States District court for the Northern District of Texas. Musk threatened to sue Media Matters in a Saturday post on X, following the group’s Thursday release of a report that prompted an exodus of advertisers, including Disney, Apple, Paramount and IBM.
“Looking to portray X’s social networking platform as being dominated by ‘white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,’ Media Matters knowingly and maliciously manufactured side-by-side images depicting advertisers’ posts on X Corp.’s social media platform beside Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content and then portrayed these manufactured images as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform,” the lawsuit says.
X detailed how it believed the left-wing non-profit got the screenshots used in the report in the lawsuit.
“Media Matters accessed accounts that had been active for at least 30 days, bypassing X’s ad filter for new users,” the lawsuit says. “Media Matters then exclusively followed a small subset of users consisting entirely of accounts in one of two categories: those known to produce extreme, fringe content, and accounts owned by X’s big-name advertisers. The end result was a feed precision-designed by Media Matters for a single purpose: to produce side-by-side ad/content placements that it could screenshot in an effort to alienate advertisers. But this activity still was not enough to create the pairings of advertisements and content that Media Matters aimed to produce.”
“Media Matters therefore resorted to endlessly scrolling and refreshing its unrepresentative, hand-selected feed, generating between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than viewed by the average X user repeating this inauthentic activity until it finally received pages containing the result it wanted: controversial content next to X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts,” the lawsuit continued.
“Public attempted to reproduce Media Matters’ methods to see if we found ads next to the content in question. We created an account and followed eleven of the neo-Nazi accounts in Media Matters’ report starting yesterday, November 19,” Shellenberger posted. “After refreshing both X’s “For You” page and “Following” page more than ten times and scrolling through the timeline each time, we did not observe ads next to white nationalist or pro-Nazi content.”
“We followed more extremist accounts and repeated this process after following thirty accounts. Still, we did not find ads on the timeline,” Shellenberger continued. “We also opened each account’s page and did not observe ads there. Nor did we find ads under the replies to their posts.”
Media Matters did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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