X, Elon Musk’s social media company formerly known as Twitter, lashed out at a nonprofit which published research on the proliferation of hate speech on Twitter under Musk’s watch, threatening to take legal action against the research group.
Musk’s personal lawyer Alex Spiro sent a letter July 20 to the Center for Countering Digital Hate suggesting X will “employ any and all legal tools at its disposal” against the nonprofit, according to a copy of the note shared with Forbes by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and first reported on by the New York Times.
A viral June report from the organization suggesting the social media company did not remove hateful content posted by paying Twitter Blue subscribers 99% of the time contained “inflammatory, misleading, and unsupported claims,” according to Spiro.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate “intends to harm Twitter’s business by driving advertisers away from the platform with incendiary claims,” Spiro asserted.
Spiro wrote that X has “reason to believe” that the research was funded by groups with an “ulterior agenda” against the social media giant, including corporate rivals and government entities.
Center for Countering Digital Hate CEO Imran Ahmed rejected that characterization, telling the Times his organization does not “accept any funding from tech companies, governments, or their affiliates.”
X’s press email returned an automated reply of “we’ll get back to you soon,” while Spiro didn’t immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
“Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research” Ahmed said to the Times.
The London-based Center for Countering Digital Hate describes itself as a watchdog for social media companies who “deny the problem, deflect the blame, and delay taking responsibility” for hate speech and disinformation on their platforms. Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, bought Twitter last October for $44 billion, immediately firing more than half of the firm’s workforce, including much of its content moderation team.
Twitter Fails To Act On 99% Of Twitter Blue Accounts Tweeting Hate (Center for Countering Digital Hate)