Musk threatens legal action against misinformation researcher over claims of hate speech on Twitter

Elon Musk is threatening legal action against a London-based, left-wing nonprofit organization in defense of X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and its founder, Imran Ahmed, a former advisor to Labour Members of Parliament, “have made a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically,” Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, wrote in a July 20 letter emailed to Ahmed.

At the heart of Musk’s claim is the subject of hate speech, which the CCDH has claimed Twitter, under Musk, fails to act on.

“[L]ast month CCDH posted an article claiming that ‘Twitter Fails to Act on 99% of Twitter Blue Accounts Tweeting Hate,'” the letter, which the CCDH released, reads. “This claim was purportedly based on ‘[n]ew research show[ing] that Twitter fails to act on 99% of hate posted by Twitter Blue subscribers, suggesting that the platform is allowing them to break its rules with impunity and is even algorithmically boosting their toxic tweets.'”

Spiro continues:

Review of the article reveals that this “research” was limited to tasking CCDH staff to report 100 individual tweets as violations of Twitter’s rules, and then check whether those tweets had been removed or otherwise actioned four days later.

CCDH’s claims in this article are false, misleading, or both, and they are not supported by anything that could credibly be called research. 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 of the nearly 500 million tweets sent per day from which to generalize about the platform’s content moderation practices. And despite purporting to conclude that Twitter favors Twitter Blue subscribers by allowing them to “break its rules with impunity,” the article provides no evidence of differing treatment in content moderation actions against Twitter Blue subscribers and non-subscribers, and indeed reflects no effort to conduct any testing to support this claim, which appears under its headline. The article cites no sources other than different, similarly threadbare posts on CCDH’s own website, and fails to identify the qualifications of any of the researchers who worked on the article.


“In other words,” Spiro writes, “the article is little more than a series of inflammatory, misleading, and unsupported claims based on a cursory review of random tweets.”

“This article leaves no doubt that CCDH intends to harm Twitter’s business by driving advertisers away from the platform with incendiary claims,” he states. “The text concludes with commentary from you accusing Elon Musk of ‘allowing hate to prosper on [Twitter], all with the tacit approval of the advertisers who remain on his platform.'”

Allegations of hate speech on the platform have been thrown at Musk since he famously walked into the company’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a kitchen sink.

Musk has stated that since he took ownership of Twitter, hate speech on the platform has gone down.

“Hate speech impressions (# of times tweet was viewed) continue to decline, despite significant user growth!” he exclaimed in Dec. 2022, adding, “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity.”

“There are about 500M tweets per day & billions of impressions, so hate speech impressions are <0.1% of what’s seen on Twitter!” he stated in a follow-up tweet.

More recently, however, Musk has criticized those who accuse anyone they disagree with of “hate speech.”

“It is damaging to society to dilute what ‘hate speech’ means,” he stated last month.

In his letter to the CCDH, Spiro suggests that the organization is funded by “X Corp.’s commercial competitors”:

Twitter takes its commitment to free speech, the enforcement of its rules and policies protecting users, and its strong relationships with its advertising partners all extremely seriously. Despite CCDH’s status as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, we have reason to believe that your organization’s operations—and thus its campaign to drive advertisers off Twitter by smearing the company and its owner—are supported by funding from X Corp.’s commercial competitors, as well as government entities and their affiliates.


“To the extent that CCDH is passing off as impartial ‘research’ material that is in fact being funded in support of an ulterior agenda, your representations are all the more misleading, while reporting of the CCDH’s true economic motives and agenda is imperative,” the attorney states. “Accordingly, we are investigating whether CCDH’s false and misleading claims about Twitter are actionable under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125.”

“Please be advised,” Spiro cautions, “that Twitter will employ any and all legal tools at its disposal to prevent false or misleading claims from harming its users, platform, or business.”

Back on X, the CCDH responded to the warning with taunts.

The organization characterized the letter as a “#MuskMeltdown” and accused the entrepreneur of trying to “bully” them.

“[Elon Musk] has claimed he is a free speech absolutist, but he is now using his attorneys to try to silence CCDH with bogus legal threats,” they posted on Monday. “Billionaires can’t bully us or our attorney [Robbie Kaplan].”

“You read that right. The richest man in the world is spending time & money to silence his critics with ‘lawfare’. @ElonMusk’s lawyers sent us a letter filled with what our attorney described as ‘ridiculous’ threats.”

Elon Musk is targeting CCDH because we’re a leading voice exposing how hate speech & lies skyrocketed on Twitter under his ownership. By threatening us, @ElonMusk is trying to hide the truth about his own failures and save his plummeting ad revenues,” they continued.

“Elon Musk wants to silence his critics so he can continue to give a megaphone to hate and misinformation while avoiding the consequences,” they quote Ahmed as saying. “We stand by our research and won’t be intimidated by Musk’s threats.”


If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to American Wire News to help us fight them.

Thank you for your donation!
Melissa Fine


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles