Elon Musk threatens to sue Anti-Defamation League for defamation

X owner Elon Musk is threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League for defamation, alleging the civil rights organisation has been trying to tank the social media platform since his takeover nearly a year ago.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk said the ADL – a nonprofit established to fight antisemitism and bigotry – is “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic”.

The 52-year-old billionaire additionally noted that US advertising revenue on X is down 60 per cent and “based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, ADL seems to be responsible”.

“To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League,” the tech entrepreneur posted Monday night, “oh the irony!”


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Musk formally acquired Twitter for US$44 billion in late October 2022. The Tesla tycoon and self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” took the once publicly traded company private, promising to scale back content moderation and revive accounts that have been booted from the website for policy violations.

Amid a flurry of tweets, Musk emphasised that while he is “pro free speech” and has strived to build a platform representing that, he is “against anti-Semitism of any kind”.

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He also shared a post supporting a #BanTheADL campaign, which started to trend online over the weekend.

The Tesla tycoon offered to run a poll on the matter.

The ADL said as a matter of policy it does not comment on legal threats, instead referring news outlets to a statement released in response to the #BanTheADL internet discourse.

“Such insidious efforts don’t daunt us,” the statement said. “Instead, they drive us to be unflinching in our commitment to fight hate in all its forms and ensure the safety of Jewish communities and other marginalised groups.”

In the months since Musk’s takeover, The ADL and other similar organisations, including the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, have found that the amount of hate speech on X has spiked under Musk’s rule.

In one instance, the CCDH found the daily use of the N-word under Musk is triple the 2022 average, and uses of slurs against gay men and trans persons are up 58 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively.

The ADL said in a separate report that its data shows “both an increase in antisemitic content on the platform and a decrease in the moderation of antisemitic posts”.

Musk in May blasted both reports as “utterly false”, suggesting the opposite is true and that hate speech has dropped since he acquired the micro-blogging website.

Last month, the SpaceX founder filed a lawsuit against the CCDH, which similarly accused the nonprofit group of intentionally trying to torpedo the site by driving advertisers away and publishing reports critical of its response to hateful content.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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