Legal critics blast Elon Musk’s lawsuit against Media Matters
Legal critics blast Elon Musk’s lawsuit against Media Matters sayingruns contrary to the First Amendment.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, Media Matters claims its report distorted the likelihood of ads appearing alongside extremist content on X, leading major and influential advertisers to suspend their campaigns en masse. Media Matters’ testing methodology did not reflect the real experience of users on the site, according to the company, which is seeking a court order to remove the analysis.
In Ted Boutrous’ view, the case appears to be a bogus attempt to chill criticism that contradicts basic First Amendment principles. As Boutrous pointed out, the case could backfire for X in the discovery phase, as Media Matters may try to obtain internal information to use against it at trial.
According to Steve Vladeck, the lawsuit also has “fatal flaws,” as it acknowledges that ads did appear alongside extremist content, regardless of how Media Matters achieved it.
Vladeck noted that the complaint acknowledges what Media Matters was making a big deal about. Companies would not want their ads running next to neo-Nazi content even once, and they would not care what percentage of users encountered such side-by-side placements.
Vladeck said Media Matters never claimed what it found was typical of other users’ experiences, contrary to the complaint.
Although some analysts mock the lawsuit as weak on the merits, they aren’t ruling it out due to X’s apparent deliberate choice of a Texas court that is generally friendly to him.
According to X, the brand’s ads ran alongside extremist content that had been monetized.