The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has cast aspersions on Elon Musk's X Corp, previously known as Twitter, claiming that the social media giant is resorting to intimidation tactics in response to the group's research into the platform's hate speech.
Since the platform was purchased last year by Musk, the CCDH has been studying its content, suggesting a rise in the propagation of hate speech following the transition.
Musk's legal team responded with allegations that the CCDH has been circulating "inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about Twitter." The platform, recently rebranded as "X", is slated to become a comprehensive, "everything" super-app.
CCDH received a letter from Alex Spiro, Musk's main attorney from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, hinting at potential legal action. X Corp claims that the "false and misleading claims" made by CCDH could warrant action under the Lanham Act, a U.S. law concerning trademark matters.
In response, CCDH described the letter as a "ridiculous" attempt to "intimidate those who have the courage to advocate against incitement, hate speech and harmful content online."
Advertising has traditionally constituted a significant portion of the platform's revenue, but advertiser apprehension over Musk's ownership and content moderation practices have led to a drop in advertising income by 50%, according to the Guardian, which did not disclose the origin of the figure.
Spiro singled out a CCDH article asserting that Twitter failed to act on 99% of hateful content from Twitter Blue accounts. Spiro challenged the absence of a methodology for the article's tweet selection and questioned the representativeness of the 100 analyzed tweets out of nearly 500 million sent daily. He further accused CCDH of being financially backed by X Corp's competitors and government entities, a claim which CCDH denies.
CCDH's legal representative, Roberta Kaplan, rebuffed Spiro's letter, stating that CCDH's work doesn't qualify as commercial speech subject to the Lanham Act. She dismissed the legal threat as an attempt to stifle criticism and viewed it as inconsistent with Musk's professed support for free speech.
CCDH's CEO, Imran Ahmed, claimed that Musk was targeting the organization due to its exposure of the spread of hate and misinformation on X under his stewardship.
In response to the news, Musk took to X to state: “They should save their words for the jury.”
“Let’s pull the mask off this organization and see who is really behind it,” he remarked.