X Corp. Sues Researchers Who Reported Rise In Hate Speech On Platform

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 24: A photo illustration of the new Twitter logo on July 24, 2023 in London, England. Elon Musk has revealed today a new logo for Twitter, which constitutes the letter 'X' as part of a rebrand of the company. (Photo Illustration by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A photo illustration of the new Twitter logo on July 24, 2023 in London, England. Elon Musk has revealed today a new logo for Twitter, which constitutes the letter ‘X’ as part of a rebrand of the company. (Photo Illustration by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

OAN’s Noah Herring
9:59 AM – Monday, August 1, 2023

X, which was previously known as Twitter, has filed a lawsuit against an organization that researches misinformation on social media, accusing it of illegally gaining access to the sites “protected data.”

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The social media platform, which was purchased by Elon Musk in 2022, alleged that the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) “engaged in a series of unlawful acts designed to improperly gain access to protected X Corp. data,” in a lawsuit that was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, with interest, for allegations that include breach of contract, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, intentional interference with contractual relations and inducing breach of contract. It also asks for the CCDH and its agents to be banned from accessing materials licensed to a tool that X’s attorneys claimed the group used to obtain data.

An attorney representing X wrote to the CCDH on July 20th, threatening a lawsuit due to the research published regarding the site’s hate speech and content moderation.

The letter also accused the organization of making “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm X generally, and its digital advertising business specifically,” as well as receiving funds from some of X’s competitors to publish the report.

Musk is a self-professed free speech advocate and has reinstated many banned accounts since his purchase of the company, including Former President Donald Trump. Despite the move to promote free speech, far-left critics have attacked Musk for inciting hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

“Elon Musk wants to silence his critics so he can continue to give a megaphone to hate and misinformation while avoiding the consequences,” CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed posted on X.

The CCDH is a nonprofit organization that operates out of the U.S. and United Kingdom. The nonprofit regularly crafts reports on hate speech, extremism, or harmful behavior on social media platforms. 

In the past, the organization has published several reports criticizing Musk’s leadership, highlighting a reported increase in anti-LGBTQ hate speech as well as “climate misinformation” since his purchase of the site.

Ahmed has stated that he is worried about X’s response to the center’s work claiming it could frighten other researchers away from studying the social media platform. He also stated he is worried other social media sites will copy this strategy.

“This is an unprecedented escalation by a social media company against independent researchers. Musk has just declared open war,” Ahmed told the Associated Press. “If Musk succeeds in silencing us other researchers will be next in line.”

UPDATE (August 1, 2023, 9:59 a.m. PT): X Corp. is now suing the CCDH.

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