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Elon Musk threatens to sue Anti-Defamation League

The X owner says ADL is falsely accusing social media company of antisemitism, leading to advertising losses
A study in March found that there was a surge of new accounts created after Musk took over that posted at least some antisemitic content.
A study in March found a surge of new accounts created after Musk took over had posted at least some antisemitic content (Reuters/File photo)

Elon Musk threatened to file a lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), accusing the organisation of defaming X, formerly known as Twitter, and causing a loss in advertising revenue.

Musk, who owns X, said on the social media platform that the ADL was "falsely accusing it and me of being antisemitic".

He said that advertising revenue has fallen by around 60 percent and "based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, ADL seems to be responsible for most of our revenue loss".

Middle East Eye reached out to X and the ADL for comment on this story, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

“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 … oh the irony!” Musk said on X.

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Since Musk has taken over the platform, the ADL has said that the number of antisemitic posts on X has sharply risen. A study in March by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) found that there was a surge of new accounts created after Musk took over that posted at least some antisemitic content.

Jacob Davey, a lead researcher at the ISD, told The Washington Post that it is "seeing a sustained volume of antisemitic hate speech on the platform following the takeover".

The ADL has long been criticised by Palestinian activists and progressive groups, who say that the organisation has worked to undermine social justice movements in the US.

The ADL has a long history of describing Palestinian rights movements as antisemitic and has previously worked with US law enforcement to spy on Arab-American groups, among others. It has also facilitated and funded US police training trips to Israel.

'Dishonest and deeply antisemitic'

Musk also previously sued another organisation, the Center for Countering Digital Hate. The CCDH's research reported that hate and disinformation are “spreading like wildfire” at the Musk-run X.

In June, the anti-hate research group reported that Musk took no action against 99 percent of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts it reviewed that had "tweeted hate".

CCDH chief executive Imran Ahmed said at the time that Musk’s legal move was an effort to silence critics that comes “straight out of the authoritarian playbook”.

Elon Musk considers banning Anti-Defamation League from X
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The threat to sue the ADL comes after a hashtag trend from over the weekend, calling for the ADL to be banned, had been boosted by a number of far-right accounts. Of those accounts was former congressional candidate and "proud Islamophobe" Laura Loomer.

"Perhaps we should run a poll on this?" Musk said on Saturday, responding to a far-right account discussing the hashtag #BanTheADL.

Marc Lamont Hill, an American political commentator and professor of media studies, said that despite the ADL's history of attacking Palestinians and Muslims, Musk's attacks on the organisation is "dangerous, dishonest, and deeply antisemitic".

"He has turned this platform into an unprofitable, white supremacist cesspool. Instead of taking accountability, he has chosen to not-so-subtly scapegoat Jews, which invites violence from his Nazi base," Hill said on X. 

"There are many legitimate political and ideological critiques of the ADL, particularly as it pertains to Arabs, Muslims, and particularly Palestinians. We can hold onto this truth while also acknowledging and fighting the clearly antisemitic movement happening right now."

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