X Corp initiates legal action against anti-hate campaigners for their research on Twitter.

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X Corp, the firm that owns Twitter, has filed a lawsuit against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), an anti-hate organization, accusing it of “unlawful acts” to gain access to its data. In response, CCDH has accused Elon Musk, the owner of X Corp, of attempting to silence criticism. CCDH is a not-for-profit organization that researches and campaigns against online hate, and its reports have been widely cited in the press. Conservative MP Damian Collins serves on its UK board.

According to CCDH’s chief executive, Imran Ahmed, the organization’s research has shown that hate and disinformation have been spreading on the platform under Musk’s ownership. He accused Musk of trying to “shoot the messenger” and stop anyone who criticizes him. The legal case was filed after a series of fiery exchanges of legal letters between X Corp’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, and CCDH’s US lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.

The case, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks damages against CCDH, claiming that the organization’s critical reports cost X Corp “tens of millions of dollars” in lost advertising revenues. It also proposes to name CCDH’s backers when their identities are discovered. CCDH’s research has been critical of X, with one report suggesting that the platform “fails to act on 99%” of hateful messages from accounts with Twitter Blue subscriptions.

The lawsuit alleges that CCDH intentionally and unlawfully scraped data from X in violation of its terms of service to produce its research. It also claims that CCDH gained unauthorized access to X’s data through a software tool called Brandwatch, which helps customers monitor conversations about brands on social media. The legal action further alleges that CCDH’s goal was to censor contrary viewpoints with which it disagreed.

The case claims that as a result of CCDH’s reports, several companies immediately paused spending on advertising on X. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and aims to shed light on the ongoing issue of online hate and misinformation on social media platforms.

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