Musk threatens media watchdog with “thermonuclear lawsuit” and calls advertisers “oppressors” –

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Elon Musk on Friday criticized major advertisers and Media Matters, a media watchdog group, after several major brands decided to suspend spending on X, the social media platform he owns and operates as CTO.

Musk wrote Late on Friday evening it was said: “The court will open in a split second on Monday. X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those involved in this fraudulent attack on our company.” In subsequent tweets, he added: “Their board, their donors, their dark money network, all of them…” and “the discovery and testimony will be delightful to behold.”

Media Matters for America (MMFA) released a report last week that showed ads for mainstream brands on X, formerly Twitter, were running alongside user posts that espoused pro-Nazi views. The report came after Musk personally posted a barrage of tweets that the White House described as a “vile promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hatred.”

In response, advertisers including Apple, Comcast/NBC Universal (parent company of CNBC.com), Disney, IBM, Lions Gate, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery decided to at least temporarily halt their advertising spending on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Musk touted a paid, ad-free subscription version of X in a tweet after news of suspended campaigns emerged. He wrote, “Premium+ also has no ads on your timeline. “Many of the biggest advertisers are the biggest suppressors of your right to free speech.” He did not specify which major advertisers he considers “suppressors.”

A spokesperson for X, Joe Benarroch, emailed a Company blog post told CNBC, claiming that Media Matters “completely misrepresented the actual user experience” of the social network.

He also said in the email: “Media Matters has an alternative for every social media platform.”

Other social networks such as Facebook, Reddit and TikTok also struggle with brand safety and moderation of hateful and false content on their platforms. However, in his own tweets, including in recent weeks, Musk has drawn the ire of his more than 163 million followers by spreading personally bigoted viewpoints.

In late October, an X user complained that a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee had been melted down in Charlottesville, Virginia. The bronze was intended for use in new public art that would not glorify the losers of the Civil War. The user, who claimed to be a relative of the general, complained: “My kind is hated and many seek our extinction.” To which Musk replied in agreement: “They desperately want your extinction.”

Last week, Musk agreed with a post in which he falsely claimed that the Jewish people had fomented “dialectical hatred” against white people. Musk called the anti-Semitic post “the actual truth,” sparking a backlash from brands, critics and even the White House.

On the morning of November 17, the White House admonished Musk, saying he had engaged in a “vile promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hatred” that “runs counter to our core values ​​as Americans.”

Later on Friday, Musk explained a new policy for his social network: As I said earlier this week, “decolonization,” “river to sea,” and similar euphemisms necessarily mean genocide. Clear calls for extreme violence violate our Terms of Service and will result in suspension.”

The CEO of the ADL Jonathan Greenblatt has praised Musk’s promise to ban accounts he believes engage in genocidal speech. Musk has been steadfastly critical of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish-led organization that combats hate speech and discrimination. He also previously threatened to sue the ADL but has not yet done so.

It is not clear if and when X Corp. will actually file a lawsuit against Media Matters and in what jurisdiction. X is based in San Francisco, while the media regulator is based in Washington, DC

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said in a statement emailed to CNBC on Saturday:

“Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens baseless lawsuits to silence reports he has even confirmed to be accurate. Musk admitted that the ads in question ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If He sues us, we will win.

—CNBC’s Jonathan Vanian contributed reporting


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