Legal Drama Unfolds as Judge Questions Elon Musk's X Defamation Allegations; Seems To Poke Fun At Case

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/01/2024
Elon Musk may not win X's lawsuit against hate speech researchers who prompted a significant corporate boycott on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, by reporting advertisements adjacent to extremist material.

X is attempting to contend that the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) is a security risk to X since it broke the terms of service of the website and unlawfully accessed non-public data in order to carry out its reports. Ads are seldom placed on extreme material, according to X, who also claimed that the boycott cost the firm tens of millions of dollars by frightening away advertisers.

During a hearing on Thursday, however, US District Judge Charles Breyer informed the CCDH that he could throw out X's lawsuit—seemingly making fun of X for bothering to submit it in the first place.

Breyer seemed dubious about X's whole case, concentrating especially on how X planned to demonstrate that the CCDH could have known that its disclosure would result in such significant financial losses, as the lawsuit rests on X's ability to demonstrate that the claimed damages were "foreseeable," according to NPR.

Jon Hawk, X's attorney, said that the CCDH accepted terms of service that mentioned they may alter when they joined Twitter in 2019. Therefore, the CCDH should have been able to predict that any reporting on rises in hate speech would result in financial losses when Musk bought Twitter and changed the rules to restore accounts propagating hate speech.

CNN reports that Breyer lost patience at this point and said to Hawk, "I am trying to figure out how it is possible true, because I do not believe it is."

"You need to explain to me why it is predictable," stated Breyer. That they ought to have known, when they agreed to the terms of service, that Twitter would thereafter alter its guidelines and permit the distribution of this kind of content?

"That, naturally, reduces foreseeability to among the most meaningless stretches of the law that I have ever heard," Breyer said. "Well, the nature of foreseeable events is that they are subject to change; so, any change is 'foreseeable.'" That argument is very amazing, in my opinion."

Breyer implied that X was attempting to "shoehorn" its legal theory, according to NPR, by using terms from a breach of contract lawsuit, even though the company's true allegation seemed to be defamation. Breyer said, "You did not file a defamation action; you might have brought a defamation case." And it is important to note. According to NPR, Breyer explicitly said that X may not file a defamation lawsuit if the CCDH's reporting was correct.

Imran Ahmed, the CEO and creator of CCDH, confirmed to Ars that the organization is "extremely happy with how yesterday’s argument went, including many of the questions and remarks from the court" in a statement. Ahmed said, "We continue to be confident in the strength of our reasons for dismissal."


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