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Elon Musk Sues Hate Speech Watchdog for Harming Twitter

Elon Musk Sues Hate Speech Watchdog for Harming Twitter

Ivana Shteriova
X Corp., the parent company of social media platform Twitter (now X), is suing the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit organization that researches digital misinformation and hate speech. The lawsuit alleges that the CCDH fabricated faulty results that harm the platform’s reputation.

The letter Elon Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, sent to the non-profit organization claims that CCDH has made a “series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically.” The CCDH fired back, accusing Musk of making a “brazen attempt to silence honest criticism.”

CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed further defended the non-profit’s findings, stating ”hate and disinformation is spreading like wildfire on the platform under Musk’s ownership” and that “Musk is trying to ‘shoot the messenger’ who highlights the toxic content on his platform rather than deal with the toxic environment he’s created.”

In late 2022, Musk claimed that hate speech impressions on the platform dropped by one-third, supporting his claims with a graph based on internal data. One of CCDH’s research reports claims that out of 100 posts CCDH recognized as hate speech, Twitter failed to take appropriate action against 99% of them.

This isn’t the first time Musk and CCDH have been in disagreement. In July, the tech mogul called Ahmed a “rat” in a Twitter post, questioning who funds the organization’s research and operation. Musk claimed CCDH is getting financial support from Twitter’s competitors and some government entities.

Musk has been hugely criticized for loosening hate speech restrictions on Twitter since his acquisition of the platform last year. Twitter’s ad revenue has been steadily declining since his takeover. “We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” Musk tweeted in mid July this year.

This could be a result of strained relationships with advertisers, but also due to Meta’s Threads launch. The new platform attracted a record-breaking 100 million users in the five days. Musk has threatened to take legal action against Meta for allegedly violating Twitter’s intellectual property rights.

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