Updated March 26th, 2024 at 12:16 IST

Musk's X Corp lawsuit against hate speech watchdog dismissed

Musk's X Corp sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate as the billionaire did not like its criticism, said the court.

Reported by: Business Desk
Elon Musk X lawsuit | Image:Republic
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Elon Musk plea dismissal: A single-judge bench in the US on Monday dismissed Elon Musk's lawsuit against a nonprofit group that faulted him for allowing a rise in hate speech on his social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
It was evident that Musk's X Corp sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) because the billionaire did not like its criticism, and thought its research would hurt X's image and scare advertisers away, the US District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco observed.  

"X Corp has brought this case in order to punish CCDH for CCDH publications that criticized X Corp--and perhaps in order to dissuade others who might wish to engage in such criticism," Breyer wrote. "It is impossible to read the complaint and not conclude that X Corp is far more concerned about CCDH's speech than it is its data collection methods," he added. X, in a statement, said it plans to appeal.

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The decision is a blow to Musk, the world's third-richest person, who has for many years styled himself as a free-speech champion. But since paying $44 billion for Twitter in October 2022, he has faced wide criticism for firing too many people who policed misinformation, and from civil rights groups for allowing more harmful and abusive posts.

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, in a statement, said Breyer's decision affirms his group's right “to hold accountable social media companies for decisions they make behind closed doors.” Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer for the nonprofit, said the decision shows that Musk "cannot bend the rule of law to his will."

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Musk and X have also faced many other lawsuits, including claims by former Twitter executives that Musk improperly withheld severance, and by vendors claiming they haven't been paid. Tesla, the electric vehicle maker that Musk runs, has separately faced several lawsuits claiming it tolerated the harassment of workers. It has denied those claims.

X accused the center of breaching its 2019 user contract by scraping and cherry-picking data to create false and misleading reports that Musk turned X into a haven for hate speech, extremism, and misinformation. According to X's complaint filed last July, the nonprofit designed its "scare campaign" to drive away advertisers, and caused tens of millions of dollars in damages.

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(With Reuters inputs) 

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Published March 25th, 2024 at 23:40 IST