In a bold move, tech magnate Elon Musk took to social media on Monday, stating his firm stance against anti-Semitism. This proclamation came on the heels of an ongoing tussle between Musk and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Musk holds the ADL accountable for a significant downturn in advertising revenue for his recently acquired social media platform, X (previously known as Twitter). The declaration appeared suddenly on Musk's official account.
When a user probed Musk on his stance, he retaliated, claiming the ADL was falsely pinning anti-Semitic labels on both him and X. In Musk's own words, "If this continues, we might have to ironically file a defamation suit against the 'Anti-Defamation' League." Reiterating his point, Musk emphasized that if the ADL lost the defamation case, a name change, removing the "anti" might be in order.
An attempt to gain insight on whether a legal complaint was underway received no immediate response from Musk's or X's legal team.
ADL Pressure Hits X's Revenue
Musk threw light on X's dwindling advertising revenue, which has taken a 60% hit in the U.S.
He claimed that advertisers cited the ADL's pressure as one of the driving reasons for this decrease. The ADL, for its part, remained tight-lipped, citing its policy to refrain from commenting on legal threats. Musk, ever interactive with his following, toyed with the idea of running a public poll on the issue, shedding light on his engagement with the #BanTheADL campaign.
This movement caught the ADL's attention, which responded by saying such attempts only bolstered their determination against all forms of hatred. November reports from NBC News highlighted advertisers' apprehension about X's future under Musk, with many pulling back due to fears of potential policy shifts.
Musk was quick to point fingers at "activist groups," accusing them of strangling free speech in the U.S. The recent lawsuit filed by X against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) throws more light on this issue.
The suit accuses CCDH of running a fear campaign to alienate advertisers from X and alleges the non-profit of both maligning X and unlawfully accessing its data. Imran Ahmed, CCDH's founder, labelled the lawsuit a bullying tactic, a sentiment echoed by ADL's findings on X's purported leniency on anti-Semitic content.
To add fuel to the fire, a Montclair State University study from last year revealed an alarming surge in hate speech on X immediately after Musk's takeover. The platform's recent policy changes, especially concerning the protection of transgender identities, have further exacerbated concerns.
This shift led to GLAAD branding X as "the most dangerous platform for LGBTQ people”. X's response remains highly anticipated, as users and watchdogs keenly follow this unfolding narrative.
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