Judge dismisses X's lawsuit against anti-hate group

The judge said that the lawsuit was an attempt to “punish” the organization for unflattering research.


A judge has dismissed a lawsuit from X against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a nonprofit that researches hate speech on the Elon Musk-owned platform. In the decision, the judge said that the lawsuit was an attempt to “punish” the organization for criticizing the company.

X sued the CCDH last summer, accusing the group of “scraping” its platform as part of a “scare campaign” to hurt its advertising business. The group had published research claiming X was failing to act on reports of hate speech, and was in some cases boosting such content.

In a ruling, federal judge Charles Breyer said that “this case is about punishing” CCDH for publishing unflattering research. “It is clear to the Court that if X Corp. was indeed motived to spend money in response to CCDH’s scraping in 2023, it was not because of the harm such scraping posed to the X platform, but because of the harm it posed to X Corp.’s image,” Breyer wrote. “X Corp.’s motivation in bringing this case is evident. 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.”

X said it planned to appeal the decision.

In a statement, CCDH CEO Imram Ahmed said that the ruling “affirmed our fundamental right to research, to speak, to advocate, and to hold accountable social media companies for decisions they make behind closed doors.” He added that “it is now abundantly clear that we need federal transparency laws” that would require online platforms to make data available to independent researchers.