Elon Musk’s Social Media Platform X Faces Legal Battle Against Media Matters, Potential Damages Looming

Legal experts suggest that the lawsuit filed by billionaire Elon Musk’s social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, against Media Matters could result in financial damages for the left-wing group, according to insights provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Media Matters claimed on Thursday that advertisements from major advertisers were appearing on antisemitic content on X. While the case is considered challenging, legal experts acknowledge its merit and the potential for financial consequences and an injunction. Joan Meyer, a partner at the law firm Thompson Hine LLP, highlighted X’s compelling argument for causes of action related to tortious interference with advertising contracts and business defamation.

X’s lawsuit challenges Media Matters’ methodology, alleging that the organization’s study was defamatory. The suit contends that Media Matters accessed accounts that had been active for at least 30 days, bypassing X’s ad filter for new users. The lawsuit claims that Media Matters manipulated content to create false pairings of advertisements and controversial content to alienate advertisers.

Several major advertisers targeted by Media Matters, including Apple, IBM, Lionsgate, Paramount Global, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery, ceased advertising on the platform after the report’s release, as reported by The New York Times. If X’s allegations hold true, experts suggest that the platform could argue that Media Matters directly caused advertisers to leave based on misleading information, resulting in substantial revenue loss.

Joan Meyer emphasized the potential impact, stating, “If this is true and Media Matters deliberately created content by manipulation, X may be able to show that the publication of this content directly resulted in the cancellation of important advertisers that were a significant source of revenue for the company.”

Legal experts, including counsel for law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss Marc Frazier Scholl, agree that damages could be available if it can be proven that intentional conduct created a false narrative to interfere with X’s business relations. University of California, Los Angeles Professor Eugene Volokh mentioned the possibility of arguing “defamation by implication” in court.

Media Matters, known for publishing controversial information and attempts to censor conservatives, is facing scrutiny as Elon Musk takes legal action. The venue of the court, in the Northern District of Texas, where Musk filed the lawsuit, may play a role, with experts suggesting it could be sympathetic to Musk’s concerns about “fake news” organizations. Meyer stated that if the district court entertains the claims, they could be precedent-setting.

Amidst these legal battles, Musk and his companies are also facing investigations from President Joe Biden’s administration, with the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and Securities and Exchange Commission looking into various matters. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas has announced a fraud probe into Media Matters over the study.

Opinions vary, with some considering X’s lawsuit as a legitimate response to false claims, while others, like Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression attorney Adam Steinbaugh, view it as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), emphasizing the importance of free expression. As of now, neither X nor Media Matters has responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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