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Twitter files lawsuit against nonprofit over hate speech research

Elon Musk's Twitter profile

Twitter files lawsuit against nonprofit monitoring hate speech

“Free speech absolutist” Twitter owner Elon Musk is suing a nonprofit studying hate speech and misinformation on social media.

The organization is accused of making “troubling and baseless claims” with the intent to harm Twitter and its digital advertising business in a letter sent by Twitter parent X Corp.

The legal dispute stems from research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate in June, which examined hate speech on Twitter, now renamed by Mr. Musk.

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The research comprised eight papers, including one that found Twitter had taken no action against 99 percent of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts reported by the center for “tweeting hate.” 

The letter from X Corp criticized the research, calling it “false, misleading or both,” and alleged improper methodologies were used.

Center’s CEO Imran Ahmed said: “Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research.” 

He added that Mr. Musk wanted to “stem the tide of negative stories and rebuild his relationship with advertisers.”

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The center also said it did “not accept any funding from tech companies, governments, or their affiliates.”

On Monday, July 31, X announced filing a lawsuit against the nonprofit, accusing it of actively attempting to restrict free expression. 

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in the Northern District of California.

Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter’s advertising business has faced challenges, with a notable decline in US ad revenue, down 59 percent year-on-year during the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May. 

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Musk’s changes to the platform, including the removal of content rules and increased promotion of online gambling and marijuana products, may have contributed to advertisers’ hesitancy.

Musk’s legal pursuits have extended beyond this case, with X Corp previously sending legal threats to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, over data usage allegations.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was also charged with trade secret infringement.

X Corp. recently sued Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a corporate law firm, alleging unjust payments related to Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. 

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