The Memo: Elon Musk’s X Corp sues British anti-hate non-profit

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Elon Musk’s X Corp sues British anti-hate non-profit

Amy Howe – 7 August 2023

Like a moth to a flame, Elon Musk’s name is in headlines once again. In a seemingly David and Goliath turn of events, Musk’s X Corp, the operating company behind X (previously known as Twitter – read more on the rebrand here), is suing the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) following a report published by the British non-profit criticising the social media platform. X Corp is seeking monetary compensation from the group following allegations that the report hurt the platform’s advertising profits. X Corp claims that, as a result of the reports, a number of advertisers pulled their ads from the platform. The suit also alleges the CCDH illegally acquired access to X’s data during research for the report, which uses statistical evidence to suggest the platform became flooded with hate speech following Musk’s acquisition.

In an exchange of letters between X Corp and the CCDH prior to the lawsuit, it’s understood that the social media platform believes the CCDH is in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. The Act is a US federal statute which governs trademark law. Section 43(a) concerns unfair competition claims involving, among other things, false advertisement (including commercial disparagement, product disparagement, and trade libel). The CCDH, in response to the lawsuit, has accused Musk of attempting to silence critics, an unfortunate look for a self-proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist.’

(Despite being a British organization, the CCDH is registered in the US, and is therefore subject to US legal system.)