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Fox Business
Fox Business
18 Nov 2023

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is threatening to file a "thermonuclear" legal action against Media Matter for America, claiming the organization "completely misrepresented the real user experience on X" in an attempt to harm the social media platform.

The issue stems from multinational corporation IBM's decision to pull ads from the platform after Media Matters for America claimed ads from the tech giant and pro-Nazi X posts had shown up adjacent to each other. The non-profit said other company’s ads had similar experiences. 

"The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company," Musk wrote on Twitter Saturday. 

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of Twitter, gestures as he attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

He added, "Their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them..."

Two more companies opted for a pause in their X ads on Friday — tech giant Apple announced intentions to suspend marketing on the platform, according to a report by Axios. 

At the same time, a spokesperson for Lionsgate Entertainment also indicated on Friday the media company is pulling its ads from the platform.

The logo of International Business Machines

The logo of International Business Machines (IBM) stands on the facade of the local headquarters, located in the Porta Nuova district in Milan, Italy.  (Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images / Getty Images)

An executive at X previously told FOX Business the social media platform’s system was "not intentionally placing a brand actively next to this type of content, nor is a brand actively trying to support this content with placement." 

"Ads follow the people on X, in this case the Media Matter’s research that was going to actively look for this content – that’s how user targeting works," the X executive said. "As it relates to the platform itself, control settings are in place there for every user and every brand."

The executive also claimed groups like Media Matters "aggressively search for posts on X and then go to the accounts, and if they see an ad … keep hitting refresh to capture as many brands as possible."

X logo, a cell phone

In this photo illustration, the 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) Premium account of Elon Musk is displayed on a mobile phone in Ankara, Turkey. (Harun Ozalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Musk lambasted Media Matters for the accusations in a statement published to X in which he defended freedom of expression on the platform and accused the non-profit of intentionally misleading the public.

"This week, Media Matters for America posted a story that completely misrepresented the real user experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers."

"Above everything, including profit, X works to protect the public's right to free speech. But for speech to be truly free, we must also have the freedom to see or hear things that some people may consider objectionable. We believe that everyone has the right to make up their own minds about what to read, watch, or listen to — because that's the power of freedom of speech."

Fox Business's Eric Revell and Aislinn Murphy contributed to this report.