Elon Musk’s X Corp is suing Media Matters. Here is an analysis of this concise complaint. I will be reporting on this case as it progresses.
As Elon Musk discussed in the post he made, X alleges that Media Matters “knowingly and maliciously” manufactured images to show advertising where it didn’t exist, specifically for the purpose of harming and destroying X.
X has over 500 million active users per month and is facilitating free speech and discourse by enabling its users to share their own content and comment and message on others’ posts. Occasionally, a user feed will have paid ads, which are the overwhelming source of income for X.
Users have control over their “feed” on X. They curate the content they see by “following” who they want to follow which tailors their experience. X says they also provide the option to forego the algorithm allowing a user to view only content they want to see.
X says that Media Matters has been targeting them for a while. In the last year, they have published a series of articles threatening the platforms' relationships with massive multinational advertisers and publishers like Amazon, eBay, MLB, NYT, WSJ, Nokia, and T-Mobile, to name a few.
Just this month, MMFA released over 20 articles disparaging Musk and X—and it appears that they are using the scoring method of the WEF…. (Note to self… look more into this..) Photo 2.
Here’s what X alleges MMFA has done: 1. They manipulated the algorithm governing user experience to bypass safeguards X has and created images of the largest advertiser's paid posts adjacent to racist content, leaving a false impression that they were real—X says they are manufactured, inorganic, and “extraordinarily rare.”
How did they do it? X did an internal investigation. 1. They accessed accounts that had been active for at least 30 days, which bypassed the ad filter for new users. 2. Then, they followed a small subset of accounts that fit exclusively into two boxes; those known to produce extreme, fringe content and accounts owned by the big advertisers. Result? A feed precision designed to produce side-by-side ad placement that it could screenshot to alienate advertisers.
Then, when that didn’t produce the results they desired, they manipulated the platform again by endlessly scrolling and refreshing the hand-selected accounts, generating between 13 and 15 times more ads per hour than normally viewed, until it finally received the pages it wanted; the bad content next to prominent advertisers.
Media Matters didn’t tell anyone what they had done—they published the piece the way they wanted it to look. They didn’t provide context about the extraordinary rarity that this could happen. They did this to target advertisers and force them to remove their ad dollars from X, thereby harming X.
And their deception worked. Apple, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and IBM pulled their content, with only Oracle sticking around.
Literally, the only people who saw these ads placed next to these incendiary posts were MMFA. Out of the 500m monthly users, the ONLY people who saw it was them. They misled everyone so that they could advance their narrative.
How X protects its advertisers: 1. They apply default protections to prevent ads from being placed next to violative content. 2. They provide advertisers with opt-in options that allow advertisers to further tailor and address any concerns they may have. They can choose keywords and particular user handles they DO NOT want their content to appear near.
Media Matters skirted all of the usual protections by specifically creating an account designed specifically to evade normal safeguards and manipulate the system.
They set that account to follow only 30 users (which is far less than average), and they followed those 30 *specifically known* for posting controversial content. 100% of the accounts Media Matters followed were fringe accounts, or accounts for large brands, thereby making it highly likely the algorithm would serve ads for the brands the account was following next to the posts from the fringe accounts.
Media Matters omitted all of this when they published their piece to cause advertisers to leave. The actual impressions generated by these manipulated ads serve? .0000009090909% of impressions served on that day.
They also set the account to private so that no one would be able to see how they had manipulated, and they chose to show every pairing of these ads with content in a deceptive way-
Even advertisers who were NOT involved in the manipulatively served content removed their ads, like Lionsgate, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, and Sony…
Media Matters purposefully targeted X and Musk because free speech and viewpoints are allowed on the platform, and Media Matters has a mission to destroy organizations that don’t comport with their worldview.
X is suing for Interference With Contract, Business Disparagement, and Interference with Economic Advantage.
They are seeking actual and consequential damages, a preliminary and permanent injunction ordering Media Matters to delete and remove the article from all websites and social media accounts, and costs and attorney fees
I will continue to report on this lawsuit once a motion to dismiss or change of venue is inevitably filed, as Musk and X filed this lawsuit in Texas…. Stay tuned!