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X sues leftist pro-censorship group over hate speech 'scare campaign to drive away advertisers'
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

X sues leftist pro-censorship group over hate speech 'scare campaign to drive away advertisers'

X Corp., formerly Twitter, is suing the pro-censorship activist group Center for Countering Digital Hate over its alleged "scare campaign to drive away advertisers from the X platform."

The CCDH has in turn called the social media company's legal action "baseless," suggesting that Elon Musk is attempting to "silence his critics so he can continue to give a megaphone to vile hate and disinformation while avoiding the consequences."

What's the CCDH?

The CCDH is an activist organization that claims to "stop the spread of online hate and disinformation through research, public campaigns and policy advocacy."

The group is run by Imran Ahmed, a former adviser to British leftist politicians and co-author of the 2018 book "The New Serfdom: The Triumph of Conservative Ideas and How to Defeat Them."

An example of their work was a March 28, 2023, report that took issue with prominent Twitter users who denounced the alleged efforts by certain drag performers, LGBT activists, and gender ideologues to indoctrinate and "groom" children.

The report condemned the lawful speech of Chris Rufo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, mathematician James Lindsay, podcaster Tim Pool, and the administrator of the Libs of TikTok account, Chaya Raichik.

An Oct. 24, 2022, tweet by Rufo, among those that apparently qualified as hateful and worthy of the activist group's concern, said, "I spent a month digging into the real story behind Drag Queen Story Hour. It's the culmination of a 40-year campaign to destigmatize adult-child sexuality and create a 'site of queer pleasure' for male transvestites and kids. It's worse than you think."

The CCDH estimated how much ad revenue was generated as a result of such tweets, then suggested that "Twitter is directly profiting from hosting ads on content by leading promoters of anti-LGBTQ+ hate."

The apparent purpose of this CCDH report and others like it is to pressure brands not to advertise on the site, thereby financially penalizing X for platforming lawful speech leftists don't like.

The CCDH doesn't just take issue with criticism of gender ideology and LGBT activism. This professionally offended outfit also seeks to ostracize online companies that permit their users to question COVID-19 vaccines and climate alarmism or to alternatively support pro-life clinics.

X's lawsuit

X Corp. filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, obtained by NPR, which characterizes both the American and U.K. wings of the CCDH as "activist organizations masquerading as research agencies, funded and supported and supported by unknown organizations, individuals and potentially even foreign governments with ties to legacy media companies."

The filing further suggests that the CCDH does not seek to combat hate but rather "to censor a wide range of viewpoints on social media with which it disagrees" and does so by weaponizing shoddy reports "to demand that platform providers kick the targeted users off of their platforms, thus silencing their viewpoints."

X Corp. indicated the activist group has been successful in prompting some companies to pause their advterising spending on the platform.

To this end, the complaint alleges that the CCDH has engaged "in a series of unlawful acts designed to improperly gain access to protected X Corp. data, needed by CCDH so that it could cherry-pick from the hundreds of millions of posts made each day on X and falsely claim it had statistical support showing the platform is overwhelmed with harmful content."

This campaign, says the suit, is being "supported by funding X Corp.'s commercial competitors, as well as government entities and their affiliates."

The CCDH is accused in the filing of breach of contract, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, intentional interference with contractual relations, and inducing breach of contract.

X seeks a jury trial.

Epistolary jousting

Alex Spiro, an outside attorney representing Elon Musk, penned a July 20 letter to Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the CCDH, saying, "CCDH regularly posts articles making inflammatory, outrageous, and false or misleading assertions about Twitter and its operations, which CCDH holds out to the general public as supported by 'research.'"

Spiro emphasized that what passes for research at the CCDH in no way resembles "the rigorous design process, analytical procedures, or peer review that a reasonable person would expect to accompany research product published by any reputable organization."

Musk's attorney zeroed in on a June CCDH article entitled, "Twitter Fails to Act on 99% of Twitter Blue Accounts Tweeting Hate," noting that the basis of the claims was predicated upon CCDH staff reporting 100 individual tweets as violations of Twitter's rules, then following up to see whether those tweets had been subjected to removal or other actions four days later.

Spiro noted that the "article provides no methodology for its selection or testing of tweets, no baseline for Twitter's enforcement time frame, and no explanation as to why the 100 chosen tweets represent an appropriate sample size of the nearly 500 million tweets sent per day."

A lawyer for Ahmed answered back with a letter on Monday, calling Spiro's letter "ridiculous" and equating his claims to "an effort to intimidate."

The lawyer indicated that the CCDH "is fully prepared to defend itself" and will "seek immediate discovery regarding hate speech and misinformation on the Twitter platform; Twitter's policies and practice relating to these issues; and Twitter's advertising revenue."

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has been a target of the CCDH, noted Monday that the activist group "is a foreign-funded dark money hate group that works with U.S. government agencies to defame and censor critics of the corrupt collusion between Big Pharma and its captive regulators."

Kennedy also indicated he would be willing to join Musk in a libel suit "against this sketchy outfit."

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