On the same day as the filing, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opened an investigation into “potential fraudulent activity” by Media Matters.
Paxton said in a statement that his office was examining the issue “to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square.”
Media Matters released a report by Hananoki on Thursday, which included screenshots of mainstream advertisements appearing beside pro-Nazi content on X. A wave of businesses, including IBM, Apple and Disney, subsequently suspended advertising.
The lawsuit by X — which claims interference with contract, business disparagement and interference with prospective economic advantage — said some of X’s largest advertisers were among the companies pulling their ads.
The lawsuit said that Media Matters manipulated the X algorithm by following 30 accounts made up only of controversial users and large companies, then undertaking “excessive” scrolling and refreshing.
“The overall effect on advertisers and users was to create the false, misleading perception that these types of pairings were common, widespread, and alarming,” the filing said.
X’s safety protocols “under normal, organic conditions operate seamlessly,” it said.
When asked for comment, X replied to The Washington Post with a post by its CEO Linda Yaccarino, who wrote that “Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to the content in Media Matters’ article. Only 2 users saw Apple’s ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters.”
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said the filing was “a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence” and that Media Matters stood by the reporting, in an X post shared by Hananoki. Media Matters did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The suit was filed in Texas, a state where the filing said X did significant business, although it is incorporated in Nevada, and its principal place of business is in San Francisco.
On Wednesday, Musk tweeted agreement with a user posting an antisemitic conspiracy theory alleging Jews promoted “hatred against whites,” under which the billionaire wrote, “You have said the actual truth,” a move widely criticized including by the White House. He later posted that “nothing could be further from the truth” than the claim he was antisemitic.