Elon Musk's X Corp sues anti-hate group over its research

It accused The Center for countering Digital Hate of a "scare campaign to drive away advertisers."

Carlos Barria / reuters

After threatening to do so, X Corp (aka Twitter) has filed a lawsuit against The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), Bloomberg has reported. It claimed that the anti-hate group is illegally "scraping" its servers and cherry picking hateful posts as part of "a scare campaign to drive away advertisers," according to documents filed in San Francisco federal court. X Corp. is asking for unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring the CCDH from accessing its data.

The Center published a research article in June asserting that X allowed explicitly racist and homophobic posts despite policies to the contrary, even after they'd been reported. However, X responded that the CCDH used poor methodology, and failed to study all 500 million posts on the service each day. It also maintained that the Center was taking funding from competitors or foreign governments as part of an "ulterior agenda," according to The New York Times.

In a new blog post called "Protecting the public’s right to free expression," Twitter/X explained its reasoning for filing a legal claim against CCDH. "X is a free public service funded largely by advertisers. Through the CCDH's scare campaign and its ongoing pressure on brands to prevent the public’s access to free expression, the CCDH is actively working to prevent public dialogue," the post states.

It went on to note that the CCDH scraped its data, accessing it without authorization from Brandwatch, a Twitter partner that provides "consumer & market insights," "brand monitoring" and more. It added that CCDH's "'research' cited in a Bloomberg article 'contained metrics used out of context to make unsubstantiated assertions about X (formerly Twitter).'"

"That’s why X has filed a legal claim against the CCDH and its backers," it stated. It also accused the CCDH of "targeting people on all platforms who speak about issues the CCDH doesn’t agree with," "attempting to coerce the deplatforming of users whose views do not conform to the CCDH's ideological agenda" and more.

In a letter published earlier today, the CCDH countered Twitter's earlier allegations. It noted that it never claimed to be conducting a comprehensive study, and documented the methodology it did use. It wrote that X didn't provide any specific examples, and said it doesn't accept funding from companies or governments. It further stated that it "will not be bullied," will continue publishing its research and that a lawsuit with "frivolous" claims could prove risky.

"The public has the right to know if and how @ElonMusk’s leadership has led to more hate speech on Twitter,” the nonprofit tweeted earlier. "By threatening us, Musk is trying to hide the truth about his own failures. Platforms must be held accountable for spreading hate & lies."