Billionaire Elon Musk has launched a legal battle against Media Matters for America (MMFA), threatening to sue the news outlet for its allegedly false depiction of his Twitter/X platform and manipulative actions to portray it as a racist outlet unsafe for advertisers. Musk’s threat, made on Friday, aimed to pursue legal action against MMFA, its board, donors, and associated entities. By Monday afternoon, he followed through with a 15-page lawsuit filed in a Texas federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that MMFA, disregarding factual accuracy, published over twenty articles in November that distorted data and misrepresented Twitter/X as a platform with ads placed next to racist content. Musk contends that MMFA’s intentions were to harm his free speech platform by pushing away major advertisers, consequently resulting in significant revenue losses.
Musk’s lawsuit highlights the alleged manipulation of the Twitter/X algorithm by MMFA. It asserts that MMFA utilized newly created accounts to evade content filtering, specifically following extremist accounts and the platform’s largest advertisers to create misleading pairings in their feed. Musk claims this artificially generated content aimed to create sensational hit pieces against Twitter/X.
The legal challenge argues that MMFA misrepresented the process of finding controversial content next to Twitter/X’s largest advertisers, failing to disclose their manipulation of the algorithm to achieve these results. Several major advertisers, including Apple, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and IBM, reportedly withdrew from Twitter/X due to MMFA’s allegations.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified real and punitive damages, citing that MMFA’s actions interfered with advertising contracts, defamed Twitter/X, and negatively impacted its business. Musk’s demands include the removal of specific articles and compensation for MMFA’s alleged malicious intent.
Despite the lawsuit being filed in Texas, where Musk has business interests, some questions arise regarding jurisdiction, considering that Twitter/X is based in San Francisco, and Media Matters is situated in Washington, D.C. However, Musk’s legal action against MMFA seeks to address what he perceives as deliberate harm to Twitter/X and its reputation.