Elon Musk threatens to sue researchers who documented the rise in hateful tweets.
X, the social media platform formerly known as Tweeter, has warned a group of independent researchers of possible legal action due to their study on an increase in offensive language on the site after Elon Musk acquired it last year. Musk threatens to sue researchers who documented the rise in hateful tweets.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit organization, received a letter from X’s attorney accusing their research publications of harming the platform’s business and making incendiary claims to drive advertisers away.
While Musk claims to support free speech, he has shown sensitivity to criticism directed at him or his companies. CCDH regularly publishes reports on hate speech and harmful behavior on social media platforms like X, TikTok, and Facebook.
The center’s reports have been critical of Musk’s leadership, highlighting an uptick in anti-LGBTQ hate speech and climate misinformation. X’s attorney questioned the researchers’ expertise and implied, without evidence, that CCDH received funds from X’s competitors.
Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH, expressed concern over X’s response, fearing it may deter other researchers from studying the platform and set a precedent for other industries.
Last year, Musk suspended accounts of journalists who covered his takeover of Tweeter and threatened to sue a user who tracked his private plane with publicly available data.
Musk had previously promised to allow free speech on the platform, even for his critics. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff expressed concern about X’s threat of a lawsuit, stating that Musk should address the platform’s disturbing content instead.