back to article X's legal eagles swoop on Media Matters over antisemitic content row

Elon Musk has made good on threats to take legal action against Media Matters over its reports alleging high-profile ads are being served next to antisemitic posts, filing a suit yesterday in Texas. According to X's lawyers, Media Matters manufactured the ad placements it reported last week that caused IBM and other high- …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

    That is unless the legal eagles have not been reading the news for the last year - this is the only sane way to do business with twatter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

      You'd be surprised. I used to work for a well respected commercial law firm, currently one of the top five in the world. The firm whom I'll call CLF did a lot of work for a particular sector known for throwing money around, and especially for a globally recognised player in that sector who I'll refer to as GRP (well, we worked for more than a few in the same sector, but this tale concerns one). GRP would never pay on time. They'd ignore the demands of the law firm's accounts payable team, and let the bills rack up, whilst continuing to demand both preferential treatment, and assign more work. Then, towards the end of the year, GRP would take out the partner leading that relationship, give him a slap up meal, and when he tentatively raised the matter of several millions of pounds of unpaid bills, GRP's man would explain that notwithstanding that GRP already had very heavily discounted terms agreed with CLF, it all added up to a lot, and so they would not be paying for THIS, or THIS or THAT (invariably on spurious grounds), and for a whole load of other stuff, and the amount for Matter Z and Matter K was just wildly too much, you do know that? Add in that it would be a shame if CLF were to lose all this valuable, experience and reputation building work for GRP, and the partner concerned would cave in, and write off about a million pounds of already completed and billed revenue. And this happened year after year.

      So assuming that all top lawyers have commercial nous is perhaps unwise.

      1. Brad Ackerman

        Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

        These aren't top lawyers. Musk has retained biglaw for the suits he's defending, but this one is too dumb for them to risk their reputation on even if they were to be paid in advance.

        This suit was filed by some political hacks whose sole qualification is having worked for the Texas AG/SG offices and not yet having been disbarred.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

          I didn't know the names, but I knew you were correct from just reading the statement from Ken Paxton's office. Part of it read:

          "Attorney General Paxton was extremely troubled by the allegations that Media Matters, a radical anti-free speech organization, fraudulently manipulated data on X.com "

          Whatever someones politics, and irrespective of the merits of the case, throwing out Trumpian dog-whistles to the MAGA-morons is daft, and childish. In fact, Media-matters should sue over it!

        2. Don Jefe

          Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

          It reads like a tin pot tyrant diktat that has been edited by paralegal interns to remove the all caps and insert punctuation and legalese.

          I don’t believe it’s a good faith suit. It is pandering to the remaining, decidedly lowbrow, Twitter audience. An audience who has no idea what a genuine “thermonuclear lawsuit” is supposed to look like. They just see Musk’s name and think it must be what he says it is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

        My company did some work in the middle east and we never got our final payment. It was a significant chunk of the contract but the cusomer just stonewalled. We took legal advice in country and they said that we should have inflated our price, weighted payments towards the front end and planned not to get the final payment. The lawyer said that the customer would have expected it and wouldn't be losing any sleep over the "face saving game" he assumed we were playing. He told us to hold a final reconciliatory meeting with gifts to save face all round and smooth things over for the next contract. We followed his advice and succeeding contracts with the same customer went like a dream.

        Maybe your lawyers front loaded things in a similar way?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

          "Maybe your lawyers front loaded things in a similar way?"

          No. I was close to the finance side of things, I know there was no upside here. It was a Western European client, so none of the cultural baggage associated with some parts of the world. In top law firms, they're of the view that their experience statements are really important, and therefore they need to be on top team work. So dropping this major client would mean the end of their top-tier work, and by inference make it more difficult to secure work elsewhere. That wasn't as true as it might appear at first glance, since I'd run client and market research programmes, and what clients really wanted was immediate availability, expertise, and a knowledge of what mattered to the client - and it was that last one that law firms have always fallen down on. As a top law firm, CLF had centuries of relevant experience, and other major clients in the same sector. This particular client was taking the proverbial - the firm didn't have that with its other major clients, but the partner managing the relationship wouldn't explain to GRP that they were making themselves an unattractive client that contributed nothing to profit, or alternatively to quietly stand down from taking on work with GRP.

  2. Ace2 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Translated for martinusher, Jellied Eel, Disgusted, justthefacts etc.:

    https://nitter.net/KathrynTewson/status/1727002256149770483

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Translated for martinusher, Jellied Eel, Disgusted, justthefacts etc.

      Oh, I have an admirer! So..

      Almost everything about his asking is stupid and wrong. It is so stupid and wrong that his entire asking is broken.

      I'm.. sure the courts will look a little more closely. I've been rather dubious about 'Media Matters' given it's basically the Podesta brother's personal attack dog. It'll be interesting what the court makes of the 'fake news', possible defamation and penalty awards. Having read the claim, it seems like X may have a point, ie how Media Matters may have manipulated their straw accounts to get the desired results. People on the extreme Left seem to be arguing that doesn't matter.. Which is sadly normal for the divisive political hellscape that scumbags like the Podestas have helped create.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        "extreme left"?

        LOL. X hosts Nazi content. They also show adverts. Some adverts get shown alongside Nazi content. Even X doesn't deny this.

        Now, if media matters has been faking and manipulating the system to exaggerate the results, then they deserve to be called out for it, but talking about "extreme left" and these apparent bogeymen creating the divisive political landscape makes you sound like a clown.

        Fox News, Newmax, and ONN, Trump, and the GOP in general are the creators of the divisiveness in the USA. Braverman, Farage, Brexit grifters, and GB News are responsible for it in this country.

        It's one thing the guys you cheer for have been successful at - at least own it!

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Now, if media matters has been faking and manipulating the system to exaggerate the results, then they deserve to be called out for it, but talking about "extreme left" and these apparent bogeymen creating the divisive political landscape makes you sound like a clown.

          They have been called out for it, hence the court case. And yes, "extreme left" is intentional because the further people drift to the left, the more further away the right appears. And after all, some geriatric from Delaware regularly refers to "Extreme MAGA Republicans", and is in the process of trying to jail his main political opponent.

          But read the filings and the allegations. According to X, Media Matters went to considerable lengths to manufacture this scandal. It claims accounts were created that only followed extremists and the advertisers, then had to manipulate it some more until it got the screenshot. Then blast out a press release claiming it's a widespread problem. But one interesting part of that was apparently X could see the account activity, including all the scrolling/refreshing to force it to reload ads until Media Matters got the result they were after. The claim states that out of the billions of views, only 2 accounts got the pairing of extremist + ad, far from being the widespread problem Media Matters suggested.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            "Then blast out a press release claiming it's a widespread problem". No, they didn't say it was widespread and they didn't say it was a problem. All they said was it happened, which is objectively true and hasn't been denied by anyone, including X.

            It's less than a page long: https://www.mediamatters.org/twitter/musk-endorses-antisemitic-conspiracy-theory-x-has-been-placing-ads-apple-bravo-ibm-oracle - but as I doubt you'll read it, I'll quote the three sentences in full that refer to these adverts.

            "As X owner Elon Musk continues his descent into white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracy theories, his social media platform has been placing ads for major brands like Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party."

            "During all of this Musk-induced chaos, corporate advertisements have also been appearing on pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi accounts."

            "We recently found ads for Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity, and IBM next to posts that tout Hitler and his Nazi Party on X."

            Which of those sentences do you think is incorrect?

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Which of those sentences do you think is incorrect?

              Read the filing. According to X, the ad/message pairing happened twice in billions of tweets, and only after Media Matters crafted an account to try and force that. As well as being obviously defamatory, the press release alludes to it being a widespread problem. X argues that it isn't, and ordinary users would be oblivious. It seems like a very fabricated controversy, but again that's normal for modern politics. Musk invaded the far-left's 'safe space' and is pro free-speech. According to the 'liberals', free speech is now un-American!

              I hope the case proceeds because it might be interesting to find out more about how this stuff works. YT has a fun habit of demonetising content deemed objectionable, but still shows ads & just keeps all the money. Exactly how pairing ads to content is something of a mystery, ie are there internal flags and tags to classify accounts and match those to advertisers?

              1. Don Jefe

                It doesn’t matter how many times if happened. Almost no advertiser wants their ads to be appearing adjacent to hate speech and white supremacy advocacy. A key value in an ad platform is the ability to dictate where your ads appear. You can’t screw that up. It’s a core competency and value proposition.

                The fact that the system can be manipulated proves Media Matters’ point. Twitter is an unstable, unsafe platform. Full stop. For advertisers to continue throwing millions of dollars at it is a recipe for disaster. It’s not a free speech issue, it’s capitalist self interest that caused advertisers to leave.

                If you’re unfamiliar with the history, the private sector played a huge role in the atrocities of WWII. For almost 80 years, people have been asking how things would have been different had the private sector chosen human rights over profit. If Dehomag, for example, hadn’t gotten involved millions of lives would have been saved. Now that Twitter has become Der Stürmer, the private sector is taking a stand by exercising its right to not fund hate. Musk’s lawsuit is toothless.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "If Dehomag, for example, hadn’t gotten involved millions of lives would have been saved"

                  They would have gone down a different route to the same outcome.

                  https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-67494374

                  Are Spyglass correct in this situation? They are exercising their right not to fund hate by not employing this person. Or will you call this 'right wing cancel culture'?

              2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                "Alludes", there you go again. You sound like my ex-wife - it's not what you said, it's what I think you said that matters.

                The irony of one man suing another man for saying something and you believing it's the claimant that is pro-free-speech is presumably lost on you. The fact is Elon and Media Matters can both say what they like but there are consequences to their words. In Elon's case, a consequence of him saying "your adverts will not run next to hate speech" before having it demonstrated that in some circumstances, however contrived, they do exactly that is that advertisers no longer believe him. Because that's all that's happened here. It's the naked emperor suing the small boy for saying he had no clothes.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  The irony of one man suing another man for saying something and you believing it's the claimant that is pro-free-speech is presumably lost on you.

                  Nope. You don't seem to understand or support free speech. America is weird like that, eg the ACLU once defended the rights of Illinois Nazis to march in Chicago. Court upheld that right, they marched and it ended up in the Blues Brothers. That's the thing about free speech. It includes the freedom to speak truth to power, and for people to say things you might find objectionable. If they're untrue, illegal or defamatory, then there might be consequences as Media Matters is finding out.

                  Media Matters and others in that slime pit certainly aren't supporters of free speech, as you can see by their determination to wipe out anything they find objectionable, or challenges their narratives.

                  The fact is Elon and Media Matters can both say what they like but there are consequences to their words. In Elon's case, a consequence of him saying "your adverts will not run next to hate speech" before having it demonstrated that in some circumstances, however contrived, they do exactly that is that advertisers no longer believe him.

                  As you put that in quotes, I'm assuming it is an actual quote that you can cite. Even if it is, it's not entirely relevant. What would be is whatever's in contracts between IBM, Apple etc or their ad agencies and X. I very much doubt that uses absolutes like that because hate speech is pretty much impossible to define. Plus it's constantly changing, eg a lot of the far-left are protesting and campaigning in support of Palestine and Hamas. An actress just got sacked for pointing out Israel commits war crimes. We're defending a bunch of neo-Nazis and supporting their claims that Russia's committing war crimes against them. BLM and Antifa regularly posted hate speech on Twitter pre-Musk and nothing was done, but then good'ol Southern Dems have always used useful idiots like the 'Night Riders', KKK and now antifa to spread hate.

                  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                    For the answer to your question, I refer you to the nitter.com link in the comment that started this very thread, in which IBMs policy on what type of content they will advertise in displayed.

                    And although I'm sure you're pleased with your whataboutery over the definition of hate speech, the Media Matters link - again, above if you can be bothered to read what you're debating - shows adverts running next to posts denying the holocaust and supportive pictures of Adolf Hitler. It is utterly, utterly unambiguous, and if you support free speech you must accept pointing out that it actually happened (which I remind you is uncontested) is allowed, no matter how much you dislike the person who said it.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      For the answer to your question, I refer you to the nitter.com link in the comment that started this very thread, in which IBMs policy on what type of content they will advertise in displayed.

                      Huh? You mean this bit?

                      But to show that this was true, he pointed to something that one of the Word-Showing Paying People said. And what THAT said is that they are mad if their words get shown next to Bad Mean Hate Words more than NONE times.

                      I have no idea how or what Tewson is but to support that teenyrant, they chose an extract from a press release following the MM smear job saying they're suspending advertising with X while they investigate. Previously, I said the contract between IBM, their agent and X would be the relevant part. So back to defining terms like 'hate speech' and 'discrimination'. The last being amusing given IBM's frequently getting in trouble for age discrimination, MM regulary promotes hate speech and positive discrimination has just been ruled unlawful in some states/situations.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Lets just quickly break down some of the things Media Matters says, cos there are 2 things in that article.

              So the first one about Elon liking a post touring a conspiracy theory.

              OK, lets read this https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-773713

              Gila Gamliel is the Minister of Intelligence in Israel. The TL;DR of the article is that all the other nations that are supportive of the Palestinian people should take them in and resettle them into their country which would leave Gaza (and I assume the west bank too) essentially empty.

              So, she is supporting mass shipping the Palestinians to other countries, likely 'western' nations as the other Arab countries in the region don't want to take any more refugees, so the Israelis can live in peace.

              So.... it isn't a conspiracy theory that they are trying to offload Palestinians onto other nations. Its been said out loud and in print.

              On the second point, they admit to gaming the algorithm to show an advert they wanted to see against content they were actively interested in. And if I lean on the bathroom sink and squint really hard the scales say I'm the perfect weight. Anyone can manipulate an outcome if they try hard enough.

              They have some posts by some total randos. I saw a very good summary of this situation that basically said the antisemitism on the right is a few nutjobs screaming into the void but on the left it is coming from those in positions of power and influence and it is embedded in institutions. We've seen leaders in universities and groups like BLM basically praising Hamas and saying that Hamas should keep going. But we focus on some rando with maybe a few hundred followers because if otherwise it will show what a total sham the political left has become.

              1. Don Jefe

                Congratulations! You’ve successfully achieved copy and paste from Telegram.

                The fact the system can be manipulated is more than enough reason for advertisers to pull out. It entirely destroys the value proposition of a targeted advertising platform.

                It’s preposterously disingenuous to say that everyone is upset because of one individual posting hate propaganda. Twitter has become Der Stürmer and this just happened to be the last straw for advertisers who see the writing on the wall. Nobody wants to be the next Dehomag that chooses profit over human rights.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  It’s preposterously disingenuous to say that everyone is upset because of one individual posting hate propaganda

                  Yet IBM, Apple etc cancelled their spend with X because one indvidual (or corporation) posted hate propaganda, ie Media Matters. It's what they specialise in.

                  Twitter has become Der Stürmer and this just happened to be the last straw for advertisers who see the writing on the wall

                  Such dramatic flair. Have you considered writing for Disney? Der Sturmer was pretty much exclusively a right wing tabloid. Twitter's wear you go to find out the latest from Disney, the Kardashians, the Bbc, Grauniad, the View (collectively and individually) etc etc. Or I've no idea if this is accurate, but garbage like this-

                  https://archive.twitter-trending.com/united-kingdom/18-11-2023

                  Presumably Everton's code for something terribly racists, as are stuff like BBUK, and Children in Need is obviously something terrible involving kids and paedos. Der Sturmer? Not convinced, and it seems Media Matters had to dig deeply and greedly before constructing their evidence.

                  Nobody wants to be the next Dehomag that chooses profit over human rights.

                  .

                  I dunno, most of the usual suspects in the arms industry are seeing their share prices booming. Lots of demand to blow up civilians all across the world at the moment. Wonder if Boing, Lockheed etc etc are bothered about where there ads show, or just tailor their ads to the local market? Looking at a tweet of a bombed home in Donbas? "These warcrimes brought to you by Boing's GBU-39SDB".

                  1. Don Jefe

                    You can’t genuinely expect that right wing tripe to be taken seriously can you? Really?

                    Musk’s goose-stepping to bankrupting Twitter began the day he took over. Revenues were already down more than 50% before the Media Matters piece. Twitter spend was already probationary with most of the large accounts, solely because Musk is a deeply unlikable person who is prone to talking out of his ass and saying ridiculous things. Who wants to be associated with that? Sheik Chainsaw and the NFL seem to be the last stalwart compatriots of Musk. Even Donald Trump doesn’t want anything to do with the platform.

                    You’ve picked a strange hill to die on. It’s not too late to turn back and stop being a patsy for wretched people. Musk royally screwed up and he’s just making it worse for himself. Just let him do it.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Musk’s goose-stepping to bankrupting Twitter began the day he took over.

                      I like the subconscious slander 'liberals' use when they're on an auto-rant.

                      .. solely because Musk is a deeply unlikable person who is prone to talking out of his ass and saying ridiculous things.

                      A lot of people can be like that. Especially 'liberals'-

                      https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/12/angelo-carusone-rules-dont-apply/

                      Media Matters President Wrote Blog Posts About ‘Japs,’ ‘Jewry’ And ‘Trannies’

                      ...“Did you notice the word attractive? What the fuck is that doing in there? Is the write[r] a tranny lover too? Or, perhaps he’s trying to justify how these trannies tricked this Bangladeshi in the first place? Look man, we don’t need to know whether or not they were attractive. The fucking guy was Bangladeshi,” Carusone wrote. “And while we’re out, what the hell was he doing with $7,300 worth of stuff. The guy’s Banladeshi! [sic]”

                      Charming fellow.

                      You’ve picked a strange hill to die on. It’s not too late to turn back and stop being a patsy for wretched people.

                      Hmm? I think defending free speech is an admirable ideal, and the people, like Media Matters who want to destroy free speech truly are wretched people. But The Hill tends to have that effect on people.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Indeed, a truly charming fellow.

                        He's fairly smart as he has worked out that stirring up outrage amongst the TDS sufferers is very profitable and oh so very easy.

      2. Knightlie
        Facepalm

        Hahaa, yeah... wait, you're being serious...

  3. Snake Silver badge

    Bullshaite

    ""Through intentionally evading X's multiple safeguards by curating the content on its feed and then repeatedly attempting to create pairings of advertisements for major brands "

    What is so questionable about that?? YouTube does it all the time - you bother to stop on, or watch, ONE feed and it then automatically assumes you want a continuous feed of this garbage.

    There is nothing about your "safeguards". "Curating contact to create pairings" is what your algorithms do, naturally, every time we look at that screen. There's nothing 'unnatural' about it. Somehow, YT believes I now want to watch anime because I stopped on a feed about Marvel. You do the same thing...but now want to claim that you don't, because it suits your purposes.

    You're full of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bullshaite

      Hmmm. you do know what blind hatred is, don't you? You have also bee quite selective in your choice of quote.

      "Media Matters knowingly and maliciously manufactured side-by-side images depicting advertisers' posts on X Corp.'s social media platform beside Neo-Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content and then portrayed these manufactured images as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform,"

      and the full quote you quote is below,

      "Through intentionally evading X's multiple safeguards by curating the content on its feed and then repeatedly attempting to create pairings of advertisements for major brands with controversial content, Media Matters finally achieved its goal,"

      You've deliberately missed of the final part of the sentence to justify your argument. I get it you hate Twitter and Musk and anyone who doesn't agree with you, but at least once consider that it may be possible - and I know this is going to hard to shallow - that not everybody on the left is the angel they claim to be and are in fact just as bad as the other side.

      Twitter are saying that this left-wing mob went out of the way to create propaganda.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Bullshaite

        Twitter are saying that this left-wing mob went out of the way to create propaganda

        So far, so normal for the 'misinformation' brigade. I liked this part though-

        Media Matters then exclusively followed a small subset of users consisting entirely of accounts in one of two categories: those known to produce extreme, fringe content, and accounts owned by X’s big name advertisers. The end result was a feed precision-designed by Media Matters for a single purpose: to produce side-by-side ad/content placements that it could screenshot in an effort to alienate advertisers.

        1. OhForF' Silver badge

          Re: Bullshaite

          So X already identified a subset of accounts known to produce extreme, fringe content but is unwilling to either ban them or guarantee ad's don't show up next to their content. Media Matters pointing to that results in X suing them even while they admit it happened.

          X saying it happens only in rare cases should not be relevant unless Media Matters said it happens frequently - did they?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Bullshaite

            X saying it happens only in rare cases should not be relevant unless Media Matters said it happens frequently - did they?

            That's probably going to be a question for the jury. But read Media Matter's press release, and decide for yourself. To me, it implies it's commonplace. X says it was a very rare occurence engineered by Media Matters. If it were commonplace, advertisers may have noticed themselves, or their agents should have done.

            1. MrDamage Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Bullshaite

              >> "If it were commonplace, advertisers may have noticed themselves, or their agents should have done."

              Because advertisers have a dedicated team of people who sit in Xitter all day, following everyone, just to make sure their advert doesn't appear next to some douchebag's nazi rant.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Bullshaite

        Someone who knows nothing about the situation could read your comment as thoughtful and informative....

        Until they get to the last 2 paragraphs, when you show yourself to be childish, uninformed, and biased.

        But you know that - which is why you were too ashamed to put your name to your comment.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: uninformed

          Exactly.

          Anonymous Coward quoted:

          ""Through intentionally evading X's multiple safeguards...

          And exactly HOW did this simple user, that being Media Matters, evade "multiple safeguards" if those safeguards actually, you know, worked? "Computer, override safety protocols, authorization JanewayPiEpislon6973". Wow, sudo access activated!

          AC is, I agree, openly swallowing the propaganda without stopping to *think*. A remote-access user, "evading multiple safeguards"? How does that work in any system that is correctly designed?? Only answer: it ISN'T correctly designed and that's what Media Matters is pointing out. No personal or corporate bias necessary: if the safeguards were there, it simply should be impossible to create the link feed. If the system allowed it, the algorithm can *also* create it by itself because the feeds are fundamentally algorithm based. No matter how much anyone tries you can't do what they system wasn't designed to do unless we're also talking about hacking the code of the system. I don't see any code hacking here, just a theoretical user using the system in a theoretical manner.

          X has, apparently, been caught-out on the fact that yes, building the feed within your own algorithm is entirely possible. That's YOUR fault, not Media Matters - they just found the bug, they 'fuzzed' to search for pattern creation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: uninformed

            "And exactly HOW did this simple user, that being Media Matters"

            Media Matters is not a 'simple user'. They are a well funded and hugely biased activist organisation who are on a mission to find things that will fuel the hatred on the left. They are the outrage mob equivalent of software bug hunters.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: uninformed

              Poor thing, breaking out the victimhood the moment it suits your agenda.

              I notice you didn't respond to the basic premise of my post, because it is impossible to deny: Media Matters couldn't do anything on the system that the X system wouldn't allow in the first place.

              Next whinger, please.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: uninformed

                "Poor thing, breaking out the victimhood the moment it suits your agenda."

                Pot meet Kettle.

                I did respond. In the same way your average user isn't going to find an SQL injection attack or find a backdoor to a website. Your average user doesn't type SQL commands into websites or edit the URL. They were specifically looking to create a situation to suit their agenda.

                1. Snake Silver badge

                  Re: uninformed

                  And that's illegal?? They did the equivalent of fuzzing the system.

                  You've got an axe to grind - sorry, I don't. I don't know Musk beyond the limited amount of news I bother to read about him, don't own any of his products, don't use any of his services. I have no experience with him at all. Just another Rich Boi with toys, the world has plenty of them now. His drama is hot-swappable with any of the other Rich Bois who think their money buys them power and accommodations.

                  So, does Musk have a point to his complaint? Simply, not from where I'm standing. Again, if the algorithm didn't allow it, it wouldn't / shouldn't have been possible. Is Media Matters dirt-digging? Sounds like it, but also sounds like they were quite successful; X has been receiving multiple complaints for a long time about their [lack of] proper hate speech filtering, and maybe MM has caught them out, not unlikely as (remember) Musk did lay off thousands of workers when he took over, making these kind of things more likely.

                  What will happen from all this? MM's point is, hopefully, to simply make X be much better at their much-promised hate speech filtering. Maybe MM will be seen as guilty of something or not, I personally don't have enough detailed information (do you? The media hasn't given that level) to make a judgement. All I know is how computer systems respond, and a system won't respond unless it is either built to allow that response or caught inside a coding bug. But it seems YOU already have made a judgement, 'damn lefties' and all that...because, what, poor X is a target? Doesn't that identify X as a favorite of the *right*, maybe making MM's point for them? Reconsider your stance and question, are you seeking the truth or too placed within your own propaganda bubble to know the difference??

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: uninformed

                    "And that's illegal?? They did the equivalent of fuzzing the system."

                    Actually, it can be. You seem like the sort of person who would have been upset by the leak of the Clinton emails in the runup to the 2016 election or the Hunter laptop stuff in 2020. If the email server didn't allow the hackers to hack it then the emails wouldn't have leaked. "Damn righties doing things to make my favourite people look bad!"

                    Nothing that was shown in the MM article was actually illegal content. Some of it was iffy, some of it was factual historical and some was fever dream like the average TDS sufferer.

                    Anyway, I use an adblocker so never see adverts and generally prefer Gab as the memes are better.

                    "Reconsider your stance and question, are you seeking the truth or too placed within your own propaganda bubble to know the difference??"

                    Maybe you need to reconsider.

                    1. Snake Silver badge

                      Re: Dog, you are blinded by your biases

                      "...hackers..."

                      Trying to justify your own biases yet using a hack to try to prove a web user (MM) did something "bad". One was a HACK, this...isn't, correct?? Finding problems is what people like MM *do*. And you bother / have the nerve to mention Hunter's laptop, after 5 years of investigations and...a big, fat nothinghood. We've all been waiting to see if our government is truly corrupt and they've given us a circus act, prOn pictures and nothing but innuendos. We've been waiting, you know. Contrary to your, apparently, rampant conspiracy theories we want TRUTH, and dog-damn have you guys missed that target by a nuclear-warhead mile.

                      You just want to be proven as a victim of everyone that doesn't think like you. It's a modern poison to society, everyone not like me *must* be my enemy. Ghosts and enemy agents, behind every corner.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Dog, you are blinded by your biases

                        Careful, you're getting saliva on your keyboard.

                        "You just want to be proven as a victim of everyone that doesn't think like you. It's a modern poison to society, everyone not like me *must* be my enemy. Ghosts and enemy agents, behind every corner."

                        Projection much? I'm not claiming you are my enemy but you're acting like I am yours. How dare I mention Hunter. How awful of me. LOL!

                        Still waiting for the walls to close in on Trump...

                        1. MrDamage Silver badge

                          Re: Dog, you are blinded by your biases

                          >> " I'm not claiming you are my enemy but you're acting like I am yours. "

                          That's because intolerance of the intolerant, is justafiable self-defence. You are the one seeking disharmony and chaos. You seek to divide the country into in and out groups. Any hatred and intolerance displayed towards you, is an act of defence, because of your own stated goals and ideals. Don't like it? Try not being a doucheflute.

                    2. MrDamage Silver badge

                      Re: uninformed

                      >> "the Hunter laptop stuff in 2020"

                      What stuff? If there was any "stuff", then Republicans would have ZERO issues with Hunter testifying publicly in an open court. They would literally want him to spill the beans in order to destroy his father's chances at re-election. But they don't. They now want it held behind closed doors, despite agreeing to public testimony 3 months ago.

                      > >"I use an adblocker so never see adverts and generally prefer Gab as the memes are better.

                      You mean your safe space where you complain about imigrants should go back to where they came from, while flying the flag of an army who never won a war, while being in the very country that army failed to win the war against.

                2. MrDamage Silver badge

                  Re: uninformed

                  >> " In the same way your average user isn't going to find an SQL injection attack or find a backdoor to a website."

                  I recall so many "average users" working out that replacing "www.site.com/visitors" manually in the address bar with "www.site.com/members" gave them a back door into said website.

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: uninformed

            X has, apparently, been caught-out on the fact that yes, building the feed within your own algorithm is entirely possible. That's YOUR fault, not Media Matters - they just found the bug, they 'fuzzed' to search for pattern creation.

            Bug hunting is probably a good analogy. Normally white-hats notify vendors and give them a chance to fix stuff before going public with it. Media Matters are in the business of manufacturing outrage, so of course didn't bother. Neither did much of the MSM, who just picked up the story and ran with it because it fits their hate filled narrative that Musk and X are evil.

            Now, Media Matters will have to explain themselves in court and could get fined out of existance, which would be no bad thing. After all Brock was previously a 'right-wing hitman' and made stuff up, then he was adopted by the Clintons and became their hitman. People may remember when a certain Biden was campaigning for President, one of his promises was to heal the politicall divide.. But as a crusty old Southern Democrat who previously eulogised a KKK leader, instead he's widening it. But those 'Extreme MAGA Republicans' are the greatest threat to America and Democratcy in general, and suppressing your political opponents isn't at all anything that happened in pre-war Germany.

  4. aerogems Silver badge

    Venue Change

    Media Matters should request a change of venue to the San Francisco County federal court since that is where Twitter's operations are based from and the "harm" would have taken place. I suppose they could also claim that it should be filed in a DC court as well, since that's where Media Matters is based out of, but the idea that it belongs in a Texas court is absolutely laughable. It's Texas, so who knows what'll happen, but if the judge whose docket this lands on isn't a Clarence Thomas type, it should be pretty hard to deny the venue change request.

    Someone want to help me out. Is this filed in the same district that patent trolls love to use?

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Venue Change

      Is this filed in the same district that patent trolls love to use?

      I'm not (and would not want to be) an expert on legal matters. But i believe the Troolheim is(was?) the Federal District Court in East Texas. This sounds like a suit filed in a Texas state court.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Venue Change

        Either way, it still doesn't make sense to me.

        "file its lawsuit in Texas's 5th District court, as opposed to the 9th District where X is headquartered,"

        Shirley they should be filing this where either they or Media Matters are headquartered, not "shopping around" for the most sympathetic jurisdiction.

        1. blackcat Silver badge

          Re: Venue Change

          Venue shopping is very common in the USA. Patent trolls have been doing it for ages.

          https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/07/why-do-patent-trolls-go-texas-its-not-bbq

          Although SCOTUS did rule on this in 2017

          https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/334548-supreme-court-limits-venue-shopping-for-patent-cases/

          1. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: Venue Change

            Like how a certain Florida man's lawyers went waaaaaay out of their way to some tiny little court district where, it just so happens, there are only like 2 judges and one of them happened to have been appointed by said Florida man?

            1. blackcat Silver badge

              Re: Venue Change

              The whole US system is gamed like that. With the deliberate separation of state laws and limitations on federal laws. This is why so many companies are incorporated in Delaware as they are VERY business friendly.

              Its like Ireland and Luxemburg when it comes to EU tax.

              The internet basically ruins everything as where is harm done and who did the harm? Something exists on a server in country A, the traffic travels via a router in country B to you in country C. Just like Sideshow Bob shooting Bart in 5 different states :)

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ijyVl1RSkk

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Venue Change

      TwitX terms of service specify California law. One of the defendants can wipe this out with failure to state a claim. The other, venue change then anti-SLAPP. Musk has just advertised that X SLAPPs weaker than an ant while admitting in a court filing that X puts adverts next to Nazi content against the wishes of clients. Truly the level of business genius we have come to expect.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Venue Change

        TwitX terms of service specify California law. One of the defendants can wipe this out with failure to state a claim. The other, venue change then anti-SLAPP.

        But it's not a ToS issue, it's civil litigation. The filing argues the venue claiming X has substantial operations in Texas (ie Musk?), users and business. Venue shopping is normal for US politics, so of course Media Matters want to move the case to a friendlier judge. But that's also an issue of the way the US justice system has perhaps become too politicised, and the supposed seperation of powers is failing. Not sure what you mean by failing to state a claim. They're the defendants, so it's their job to answer the claims. Which could also mean more FUN! with disclosure.

        But assuming the case proceeds, and then goes the appeals route, SLAPP issues may get interesting. The whole case is really around Public Participation, censorship and free speech. Media Matters clearly doesn't want those, so it's somewhat ironic that it may want to use SLAPP to make the case go away.

  5. Darth.0

    Break even point

    Didn't he and his investors pay $40B for Twitter and it was only worth around $8B at the time they bought it? If that's the case, then he and Linda need to start selling the sh*t out of that Blue Checkmark service.

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    Interesting wording

    Calling them "manufactured" which implies that they are fake, when they are not. In fact Musk already admitted they are real in a post so his lawyers would have a really hard time arguing otherwise.

    Whether they are "rare" or not is irrelevant. These companies won't advertise with Twitter if their ads EVER appear alongside such content, which Twitter cannot guarantee so long as Musk maintains it as a safe haven for Nazis and other terrible people. Previously when Twitter had a policy against that then it 1) didn't attract them to nearly the degree they are now, because they knew their accounts would be canceled as soon as they were found and 2) such posts wouldn't be removed so there is no incentive for anyone to flag such posts to Twitter.

    So basically unless a watchdog like Media Matters checks up on them, Twitter will knowingly be running ads for these companies on Nazi accounts, but excusing it as "rare" as if that assuages the concerns of advertisers. There's no way to prevent your company's ads running alongside Nazi accounts eventually, because Twitter's owner welcomes Nazis and Nazi posts under his "maximal free speech" banner. But his love of free speech ends when it is someone else exercising THEIR right of free speech, such as Media Matters posting what they found when they looked to see what sort of ads would be run alongside a few Nazi accounts, or IBM/Apple/Disney/etc. exercising their right to insure their ads are not run alongside Nazi content.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Interesting wording

      Ken Paxton will have you down as a "radical left anti-freespeech" entity for such a comment!

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F_a11IWXoAAvqjh?format=png

    2. TheFifth

      Re: Interesting wording

      From the filing:

      "Media Matters then exclusively followed a small subset of users consisting entirely of accounts in one of two categories: those known to produce extreme, fringe content, and accounts owned by X’s big name advertisers. The end result was a feed precision-designed by Media Matters for a single purpose: to produce side-by-side ad/content placements that it could screenshot in an effort to alienate advertisers."

      So basically they follow a bunch of hate and they follow a bunch of tech companies. Ergo, they get tech company adverts on their hate filled feed.

      Twitter seems to be trying to claim that this is something that would never happen naturally (or rarely would), but this is just the way their algorithm works. Unless they are saying that no one who is into tech is also into hateful content, then it's hard for them to deny that these ad placements will sometimes happen. People with this combination of interests definitely exist (I've seen a few commentards who likely have a similar Twitter feed!), so it must happen.

      Media Matters may have distilled the experience down a bit, as no one is likely to only follow hate speech and tech companies with no other content. So a real feed may have some cat memes mixed into the nazi propaganda (a little light relief I guess). But the fact is that they still placed ads against that content. That's enough for the advertisers to exercise their right to draw a line under their contracts. Twitter can claim they have robust measures in place to stop it all they like, but if all it takes to bypass them is to follow some hate and some tech, then those measures simply are not working.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting wording

        I don't see what's wrong with their methodology. Either those company's ads can never appear alongside the hate, or it can. It is irrelevant whether the chance of that happening "organically" was small, the fact that it can EVER happen is something these companies will not tolerate. I imagine there are a few Twitter users who follow the hate and follow say Apple because they have an iPhone, so it is ridiculous to claim such a situation can never happen in the real world. It probably already has happened plenty of times, but the people who saw it are the kind of people who are going to report it as a problem.

        If you want to play host to Nazis at your backyard party, and I won't attend parties where I'm ever put in a position where I'm talking to a Nazi but you still want me to attend, it is up to you to find a way to keep Nazis and one side and people like me on another. Twitter is not able to do that, and I don't think it is possible to do that. The way everyone else running ads deals with it is either to not allow Nazis on their platform (and if one is found to boot him immediately) or to accept the fact they will not get any advertising from major brands. Musk wants to believe he can have his cake and eat it too, but I think he is going to be forced to choose.

  7. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Reputation management via lawsuit

    So Elon is going to win the following prizes :

    1) A set of damaging worldwide headlines about how he's filed a lawsuit against people who pointed out that ads were appearing next to Nazi shit on his website.

    2) Another set of damaging worldwide headlines about how he's lost a lawsuit against people who pointed out that ads were appearing next to Nazi shit on his website.

    The idea that not having the Nazi shit on his website might have prevented the damage in the first place doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

      Maybe Musk is really leaning into the principle that there's no such thing as bad publicity. He knows that the press will report on his antics, which keeps Xitter in the news, which attracts at least some people to the platform, so perhaps in his view it's worth it to get bad publicity.

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

        It's not like things seem to be going all that well in the Grand Duchy of Twit. Maybe this is just a "What the hell, how can things possibly get worse?" action.

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

      If Twitler's ego weren't so massive that it didn't allow for the idea that he could possibly fail at anything, he should either just IPO Twitter or shut the whole thing down. At this point, it's almost cruel to let it continue on this death march to total destruction.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

      So Elon is going to win the following prizes :

      1) A set of damaging worldwide headlines about how he's filed a lawsuit against people who pointed out that ads were appearing next to Nazi shit on his website.

      Alternatively, it's going to win a lot more in punitive damages because of all those worldwide headlines that picked up the story & ran with it, without doing any 'fact checking'.

      2) Another set of damaging worldwide headlines about how he's lost a lawsuit against people who pointed out that ads were appearing next to Nazi shit on his website.

      Or a damaging set of headlines assuming it wins about lengths Democrat activists go to to stifle free speech and damage their political opponents. And perhaps how gullible the left are in believing this stuff..

      The idea that not having the Nazi shit on his website might have prevented the damage in the first place doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

      This is the really fun part. Media Matters and similar activist groups seem to have convinced you that X is a seething cess pit and wretched hive of scum and villainy. This is also why X's claims of manipulation, if true make it interesting. But have you actually read the report, and the 'Nazi shit' Media Matters managed to find, apparently after considerable effort?

      One is a meme about 'spiritual awakening', contrasting a woke person's idea of tranquility with a bunch of jackbooted thugs coming for your freedoms. The other is pointing out that the Nazis banned abortions, gave mothers of 3 or more kids 'Honour Cards' allowing extra privileges, invented Mothers Day, promoted exercise and healthy eating, and discouraged mothers from working. I mean.. how outrageous! I have no idea who the poster who tweeted the women's stuff is, but presumably is a bit of a nutter given Media Matters chose to follow them. But the messages themselves don't seem very offensive.

      The mother's stuff is simply a statement of facts. Mother's Day is still a major advertising extravaganza celebrated in the West. Reproductive rights are still a touchy subject. Governments have problems with population replacement and declining birth rates.. And of course we still promote exercise and healthy eating.. Go vegetarian, just like dear'ol Adolf wanted. Which is perhaps one of the greatest ironies. The Greens basically ape many of Hitler's policies, and yet object violently when their fascist tendencies are pointed out. Or if people point out how much modern marketeers and spin doctors learned from Goebels. Luckily, Germany published a copy of Mein Kampf that's annotated and contextualised, and well worth a read. The main lessons learned following WW2 was 'Never Again', yet many supposed 'liberals' and 'progressives' are basically repeating the same shit. They're even locking up their political opponents, just like Himmler did.

      It's also interesting to look at other misinformation Media Matters has been involved in promoting. So there's fun stuff like-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Securing_Democracy#Hamilton_68_Dashboard

      In January 2023, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted about internal Twitter documents related to Hamilton 68 as part of the Twitter Files. The documents show that Twitter's former Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, attempted to identify the accounts tracked in the dashboard. Roth found that only 36 of the 644 accounts he identified were registered in Russia and argued that the dashboard used "shoddy methodology" to incorrectly label authentic accounts as "Russian stooges without evidence".

      Or the dodgy Steel Dossier, or even 'election interference'.. Which has just got interesting in Georgia given a Judge there just ruled that there might actually be some issues with electronic voting. Not sure this will be a smoking gun, but election integrity and trust in the voting system is important for democracy, isn't it?

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

        As a wise news anchor once said: Keep fucking that chicken!

        https://youtu.be/X7XbukdoGmM

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

          As a wise news anchor once said: Keep fucking that chicken!

          Oh! You again! Back with the hate speech and ad homs!

          In the UK of course, bestiality is illegal and therefore I must deny your request. Unless you were thinking of chicken hawks? Also illegal, but seemingly popular with the US 'liberal' media set. See Slade Sohmer etc etc.

      2. TheWeetabix

        Re: Reputation management via lawsuit

        Thank you for the disappointing realization that even 80 years later, Hitler still has people cheerleading for him.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a trap

    I can't help but think this is all a trap and the man known for his impulsive emotional responses has walked straight into it.

    Media Matters now has all the attention it wanted to a) the awful content that make Xitter's bread and butter, b) that Xitter is paying many of these lowlifes to produce their hateful material, and c) the risk that any advertisers run of seeing their ad next to people who fantasize of genocide. It also has a splendid opportunity to add reams and reams of screenshots of truly awful posts (that even the average Texan might think go a bit far) to the supporting documents in their defence.

    And that all drawn out over a multi-day circus of a lawsuit against the right to say what you want with dozens of reporters lapping it all up, receiving copies of the supporting documents, canned statements from Media Matters spokespeople and lawyers about how Musk it trying to attack their speech, against a backdrop of Xitter's ever declining revenue figures and relevance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a trap

      Yes! Classic Streisand!

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    WTF?

    I’m no legal type

    But my advice would be to prevent pro-Nazi content on your platform.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw away the key!

    Glad to see Elon bravely taking on these malcontents.

    But defaming Twitter is nothing to this scum. No siree.

    These people are well known as big time Vegetable Defamers.

    Once they've been lured to Texas, where they have proper laws, Ken Paxton will pounce, and they'll rot for their lies about Twitter and toxic asparagus.

    1. TheFifth

      Re: Throw away the key!

      Please be satire. A few years ago sarcasm was easy to spot, but these days...

  11. Empire of the Pussycat

    Odd, I'm sure Musk said he was for free speech

    Clearly he's ok with nazis on X.

    But freedom doesn't extend to those pointing out the hate spewed on X.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, so we've got lots of actual people in the streets over the last few weeks chanting antisemitic slogans, yet we're getting all wound up about a social media platform nobody cares about any more?

    I think we've got the priorities a little wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh so true! The video of a group at victoria railway station chanting about how they wish a certain group would all die and how they wish Hamas would keep killing.

      Now we have this nugget:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2023/11/22/us/seldowitz-ex-obama-official-islamophobic-comments/

      'Seldowitz replies, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, you know what? It wasn’t enough!”'

      The hotdog guy is from Egypt, he isn't even Palestinian! Yet is getting this sort of hate from an ex government official.

      I cannot support either side here, they are as bad as each other.

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