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Twitter, now X, threatens suit against nonprofit studying hate speech and misinformation

Jaap Arriens | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Elon Musk’s latest legal adversary: a nonprofit that studies hate speech and misinformation on social media.

On July 20, X Corp., formerly known as Twitter, sent a letter to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, or CCDH, threatening to sue the British research nonprofit. It alleged that the CCDH made “inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about Twitter” and suggested it conspired “to drive advertisers off Twitter by smearing the company and its owner.”

The letter follows CCDH research published in June, which studied the propagation of hate speech on the social media platform since Musk’s buyout. In one report looking at 100 different accounts subscribed to Twitter Blue, CCDH found that X Corp. failed to act on 99% of hate posted by the subscribers and questioned whether the social media platform’s algorithm boosts “toxic tweets.”

Other CCDH research found that the social media company failed to act on 89% of anti-Jewish hate speech and 97% of anti-Muslim hate speech on the platform.

A spokesperson for X did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This month, Musk said that the social media platform’s cash flow remains negative amid a nearly 50% drop in advertising revenue.

In a release, Imran Ahmed, CEO of the CCDH, said that Musk’s actions attempt to “silence honest criticism and independent research.”

“Advertisers are fleeing his platform for one clear reason: Elon Musk has supported the proliferation of hate and racism on it, and he doesn’t care to stop it,” Ahmed said, adding, “This should be the last time anyone dares to claim Musk is a ‘free speech absolutist.'”

The letter from X Corp. to CCDH is one of a handful of legal threats or actions by the company in recent months.

In May, X Corp. sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella alleging that the tech giant abused its access to Twitter data and used it “for unauthorized uses and purposes.” In July, the company threatened to sue Meta over its new Threads app, alleging “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.” Also in July, X Corp. filed a lawsuit against Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the corporate law firm that prevented Musk from backing out of his $44 billion Twitter buyout.

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