Judge Throws Out Elon Musk’s X/Twitter Lawsuit Against Foreign Censorship Campaigners

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A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by X/Twitter, the social media platform owned by Elon Musk, against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a foreign censorship advocacy group that targeted Musk and his platform with a campaign attempting to shut down advertising.

Ars Technica reports that U.S. judge Charles Breyer in California granted a motion to dismiss the case, stating that the lawsuit appeared to be an attempt by X/Twitter to punish the CCDH for exercising their right to free speech. The judge wrote in his decision, “This case is about punishing the defendants for their speech.”

The lawsuit alleged that the CCDH had unlawfully accessed and scraped data from the platform to conduct studies that found a rise in hate speech and misinformation following Musk’s acquisition of the company in late 2022. X also claimed that the nonprofit had “cherry-picked” posts to drive away advertisers, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses.

Elon Musk Twitter X (CHRIS DELMAS/Getty)

However, Judge Breyer found that beyond punishing the CCDH for their critical report, X/Twitter seemed to have filed the suit “perhaps in order to dissuade others who might wish to engage in such criticism.” This ruling comes amidst several bitter disputes between Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” and civil rights groups and academics who argue that the platform has not been adequately policed since the billionaire’s takeover.

CCDH chief executive Imran Ahmed praised the court’s decision, stating, “The courts today have affirmed our fundamental right to research, to speak, to advocate, and to hold accountable social media companies for decisions they make behind closed doors that affect our kids, our democracy, and our fundamental human rights and civil liberties.” He further described the suit as “Elon Musk’s loud, hypocritical campaign of harassment, abuse, and lawfare designed to avoid taking responsibility for his own decisions.”

X/Twitter, in a statement, disagreed with the court’s decision and plans to appeal. Musk, who did not immediately comment on the case, had previously called the CCDH a “truly evil organization that just wants to destroy the first amendment under the guise of doing good!” on the platform.

Breitbart News recently reported that America First Legal revealed that the Biden Administration is actively supporting CCDH:

America First Legal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the rule of law, has recently exposed a disturbing collaboration between the Biden Administration and the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a United Kingdom-based nonprofit that has been encouraging online censorship for years. The evidence suggests that the Biden Administration has been mobilizing federal counterterrorism assets to support CCDH’s global censorship campaign, raising serious concerns about the government’s role in suppressing free speech.
According to the documents obtained by America First Legal, the Biden Administration’s National Security Council published its first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism on June 15, 2021. The strategy asserted that “Internet-based communications platforms” make Americans vulnerable to “domestic terrorist recruitment and other harmful content,” effectively justifying censorship and turning to the national security state and allied technology companies to censor political opponents.

Read more at Ars Technica here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.

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