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X Corp vs. Anti-Hate Campaigners Over Twitter Research

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Elon Musk’s company takes on CCDH in a heated lawsuit

X Corp, owned by Elon Musk, has taken legal action against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), accusing them of “unlawful acts” to gain access to its data. In response, CCDH accused Musk of attempting to silence critics and censor contrary viewpoints.

CCDH, a not-for-profit organization focused on researching and campaigning against online hate, has been cited widely in the press for its reports. However, Musk’s company alleges that CCDH’s critical reports have cost them “tens of millions of dollars” in lost advertising revenues.

The legal dispute emerged following a series of fiery exchanges of legal letters between X Corp’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, and CCDH’s US attorney, Roberta Kaplan. The case filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California seeks unspecified damages against CCDH and aims to reveal the identities of the organization’s backers, which X Corp claims may include “foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies.”

X Corp’s lawsuit challenges CCDH’s research and methodology, alleging that the organization violated the platform’s terms of service by scraping data and gaining unauthorized access through a social media monitoring tool, Brandwatch.

Moreover, X Corp claims that CCDH’s research aimed to censor opposing viewpoints, including topics such as Covid-19 vaccines, reproductive healthcare, and climate change.

The lawsuit indicates that CCDH’s reports influenced several companies to halt advertising spending on X Corp’s platform. This legal battle raises significant concerns about data privacy, freedom of speech, and the implications of research reports on social media platforms.

As the case progresses, both sides must present evidence to substantiate their claims, and the outcome may have broader implications for organizations researching and reporting online hate and disinformation.

Until the legal process unfolds, it remains uncertain how this dispute will impact X Corp, CCDH, and the broader landscape of online content moderation and digital free speech.