X Corp, formerly known as Twitter, has recently filed a lawsuit against the UK-based nonprofit organization Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). The lawsuit accuses the CCDH of attempting to stifle free expression and open discussion on the platform by scaring away advertisers. X refers to the CCDH as an “activist organization masquerading as [a] research agency” and claims that it is funded and supported by unknown organizations, individuals, and potentially even foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies.
According to the lawsuit, the CCDH initiated a “scare campaign to drive away advertisers” from the platform. X argues that advertisers’ investment is crucial for the platform to continue operating as a free service. In a blog post accompanying the lawsuit, X further accuses the CCDH of targeting individuals on all platforms who speak about issues the CCDH disagrees with. X alleges that the CCDH attempts to coerce the deplatforming of users whose views do not align with its ideological agenda. Additionally, X claims that the CCDH illegally gains unauthorized access to social media platform data and misuses that data.
The lawsuit also details how the CCDH allegedly scraped X’s platform, collecting all available data in violation of X’s terms of service. It is claimed that the CCDH accessed X’s data via a borrowed login from advertising analytics platform Brandwatch. X argues that this stolen data was then used “out of context” to claim a “surge in harmful content” on the platform, which supposedly drove advertisers away.
The lawsuit includes 50 ‘John Doe’ defendants, including the unnamed Brandwatch user who allegedly assisted the CCDH. X asserts that these co-conspirators are working with the CCDH to sabotage the platform, and their true identities will be added to the lawsuit as they are discovered.
While X does not quantify the financial damage caused by the CCDH’s actions, it claims that it amounts to at least tens of millions of dollars. X demands that the CCDH cease using the stolen data.
CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed has dismissed Musk’s claims, referring to the lawsuit as a conspiracy theory. Ahmed accuses Musk of blaming him for his own failings as a CEO and asserts that the CCDH’s allegations about hate speech on the platform under Musk’s leadership are valid.
The lawsuit comes shortly after the CCDH published a letter from Twitter accusing the NGO of regularly making inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about the platform and its operations. The CCDH contends that Twitter is attempting to silence honest criticism through legal intimidation.
Overall, X Corp’s lawsuit against the CCDH highlights the ongoing tensions surrounding freedom of expression, censorship, and the role of social media platforms in moderating content. The outcome of this legal dispute will likely have implications for the future of online discourse and the responsibilities of both platforms and advocacy groups in shaping the digital landscape.