Elon Musk. (Credit: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters/File)
(CNN) -- Following the devastating exodus of large companies that announced the suspension of their advertising on X, formerly Twitter, last week, the platform's owner, Elon Musk, filed a lawsuit against the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for its analysis of anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi content on the social network. A report that seems to have played a key role in the massive and very damaging withdrawal for X.
The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, accuses Media Matters of misrepresenting the likelihood of ads appearing next to radical content on X, arguing that the report's testing methodology was not representative of how actual users experience the site.
- IBM suspends ads on Elon Musk's X after an ad of his appeared next to pro-Nazi content
"Media Matters knowingly and maliciously fabricated images that depicted advertisers' posts on X Corp.'s social media platform alongside neo-Nazi and white nationalist content, and then presented these fabricated images as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform," the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas stated. "Media Matters engineered both these images and its resulting media strategy to drive advertisers off the platform and destroy X Corp," the document continued.
The lawsuit simultaneously names Media Matters and Eric Hananoki, its senior investigative reporter, as defendants. It also sought an injunction forcing Media Matters to remove its analysis from its website and accuses the organization of interfering with X's contracts with advertisers, damaging its economic relationships and bringing X into disrepute.
On Monday night, X CEO Linda Yaccarino came to the social network's defense.
"If you know me, you know that I am committed to truth and justice," Yaccarino posted. "This is the truth. Not a single genuine user on X saw the IBM, Comcast, or Oracle ads alongside the content of the Media Matters article."
After the lawsuit was filed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined the case by announcing that he would investigate Media Matters to determine whether its study of X's content could constitute "potential fraudulent activity" under state law. He also called the group a "radical left-wing organization" that "would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square."
Several large companies suspended their banner ads on the platform after Musk backed the anti-Semitic claim that Jewish communities push "anti-white hate."
- Tesla Shareholder Calls on Board to Suspend Elon Musk for Endorsing Anti-Semitic Post
Musk had hinted at the lawsuit on Saturday after those big brands, including Disney, Paramount and CNN parent Warner Bros. Discovery, halted their advertising on X. Musk threatened a "thermonuclear lawsuit" against Media Matters and "EVERYONE who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company," including, he said in a later post, "Their board, their donors, their dark money network, all of them..."
In a statement Saturday, Media Matters vowed to defend itself.
"Far from the free speech defender he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed to be accurate," the group said. "Musk admitted that the ads in question ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he sues us, we will win."