Billionaire Elon Musk warned conservative media assassin Media Matters for America (MMFA) he’d sue the “news” outlet for not just lying about his Twitter/X platform, but for the mendacious way the George Soros-bankrolled website manipulated data to depict it as a racist outlet that is a “risky and unsafe platform for advertisers.” On Friday, Musk issued the threat to go “thermonuclear” on the outlet and “their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them,” and by Monday afternoon had detonated a 15-page lawsuit filed in Texas federal court (read it below).
Musk’s lawsuit claims that MMFA, “undeterred by truth,” went beyond its “twenty articles and counting”—November attack stories—and manipulated data and the Twitter/X algorithm to make it look as if major companies had their ads placed next to racist content.
The lawsuit states that Twitter/X, as a free speech platform, has been targeted by MMFA for years but recently unleashed an onslaught of stories intended to drive away big advertisers. It succeeded in driving away untold millions in ad revenue from the platform. But MMFA’s latest gambit was based on a malicious, outcome-based scam to destroy Elon Musk’s free speech platform.
Since Twitter users can curate their own advertising experience, Musk says an internal investigation shows that MMFA used Twitter/X accounts opened slightly more than 30 days ago to “evade content filtering” and then followed only extremist accounts and the platform’s largest advertisers, therefore “precision design[ing]” unique pairings of the two in their feed. But, the lawsuit claims, that was still not enough to create the unique and extremist content they wanted to use in their hit pieces. Musk says that to achieve the most damning-looking content, Media Matters had to resort “to endless scrolling and refreshing its unrepresentative, hand-selected feed, generated between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than the typical X user.” The lawsuit says this “inauthentic activity” was kept up until MMFA got the desired result: “controversial content next to X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts.”
In its posts damning Musk and Twitter/X, the lawsuit says MMFA claims to have “found” this content, failing to note they’d manipulated the algorithm to achieve it. But as the lawsuit alleges, they didn’t “find” it; they “created” it. MMFA then hid from readers and advertisers how the results were manipulated.
They posed questions to advertisers asking if they really wanted to be on a white supremacist, racist platform. Musk doesn’t say how many advertisers left and how much money Twitter/X lost in revenue but acknowledges that MMFA’s efforts drove away Apple, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and IBM. The only advertiser that didn’t take the bait was Oracle. Other advertisers, Lionsgate, Warner Brothers, Discovery, Paramount, and Sony, believed MMFA’s hype and yanked their Twitter/X ads.
The pairing of the extremist content and all-star advertisers IBM, Comcast, and Oracle was so unique, the lawsuit says, that it showed up for only one Twitter user—the MMFA-manipulated account—out of all 500 million active users. MMFA’s manipulated account was able to get a pairing of Apple and fringe content for only two users out of all Twitter/X users and one of them was Media Matters.
In his lawsuit for unspecified real and punitive damages, Musk says Twitter/X is safe, that Media Matters “systematically manipulate[d] the X user experience to defame X,” lied about it, provided no context for how the resulting pairing of fringe material and blue-chip advertisers was achieved, and then represented that it was a typical user experience when it was the longest of long shots. And then the leftist company hid the evidence.
Tellingly, Media Matters used X’s privacy features in order to hide its methodology from its readers. That is, Media Matters set this account to “private,” blocking anyone from seeing the accounts Media Matters actually followed, thus disallowing anyone from understanding how its feed was manipulated. Indeed, Media Matters at no point includes images with information about the account that was exposed to these images; the cropped nature of Media Matters’ deceptive screenshots leaves its profile picture out of the frame.
Musk says MMFA’s manipulations interfered with their advertising contracts, defamed Twitter/X with malice aforethought, and drove away business. Besides wanting to drive a stake through MMFA, Musk demands the site delete a particularly egregious article clunkily entitled, “As Musk Endorses Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory, X Has Been Placing Ads for Apple, Bravo, IBM, and Xfinity, Next to Pro-Nazi Content From its Web.”
MMFA CEO Angelo Carusone doubled down on the website’s allegations on Sunday, saying that Musk’s Friday complaints confirmed their story. Twitter/X user and target of the MMFA assassin squad Libs of TikTok found some interesting anti-Semitic comments in Carusone’s past, and no one had to manipulate the algorithm to find them.
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Musk didn’t ask for an apology; he wants Media Matters to nuke the content and pay for its malicious intent.
Musk might have an issue with bringing a federal civil lawsuit in Texas. Though he has companies there, Twitter/X is not one of them. X is based in San Francisco, and Media Matters is at the center of the swamp in Washington, D.C. We can understand why he didn’t file in either of those places.