The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), which has offices in the US and the UK, has been charged by X Corp with engaging in “unlawful acts” in order to “improperly gain access” to its data.
Elon Musk, the owner of X Corp, was accused by CCDH of seeking to silence anyone who disagreed with him.
The phrase “free speech absolutist” has been used by Mr. Musk in the past.
A non-profit agency called CCDH conducts research and organises initiatives against internet hatred. Its reports have received numerous press citations, including from the BBC. On its UK board of directors is Conservative MP Damian Collins.
“Elon Musk’s latest legal threat is straight out of the authoritarian playbook – he is now showing he will stop at nothing to silence anyone who criticises him,” said Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, in a statement.
According to Mr. Ahmed, CCDH research had revealed that misinformation and hatred were “spreading like wildfire on the platform under Musk’s ownership”.
He declared that the CEO of X Corp was trying to “shoot the messenger.”
After a tense exchange of legal letters, in which X Corp lawyer Alex Spiro threatened legal action and CCDH’s US attorney Roberta Kaplan responded bluntly, news of the Tlegal case was announced on Monday.
While the complaint brought on Monday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by a different law firm made a number of fresh charges, Mr. Spiro’s letter concentrated on purported mistakes in a piece of CCDH research, which the organisation contested.
It demands unspecified damages from the non-profit organisation and alleges that X Corp lost “at least tens of millions of dollars” as a result of the center’s unfavourable findings.
Additionally, it suggests amending the lawsuit to include the names of CCDH’s funders, which it believes may include “foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies” when their identities are revealed.
A number of CCDH findings have been critical of Twitter. For instance, a study that received harsh criticism in Mr. Spiro’s court letter claimed that Twitter “fails to act on 99%” of hostile remarks from accounts who subscribe to Twitter Blue.
The complaint criticises the methods and research of CCDH. It claims that in order to create its research, the organization “intentionally and unlawfully” scraped data from X in breach of its terms of service.
Additionally, it asserts that the CCDH obtained “unauthorised” access to X’s data via a programme called Brand watch that aids consumers in keeping track on social media brand dialogues.
According to the lawsuit, an anonymous third party wrongfully gave the CCDH access to Brandwatch login information, which gave them unauthorised access to data.
Brandwatch has been contacted by the BBC for comment.
Additionally, it is asserted that the CCDH sought to stifle opposing perspectives on issues like the Covid-19 vaccination, reproductive healthcare, and climate change.
According to the case, “a number of companies who advertised on X on an ongoing basis immediately paused spending for advertising on X” as a result of CCDH reports.