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Attorney General Ken Paxton late Monday announced an investigation into Media Matters for possible fraudulent activity in response to the media watchdog group’s report last week that prompted companies to remove ads from X, the site formerly known as Twitter name.
Earlier Monday, X CEO Elon Musk filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas against Media Matters, alleging the organization manipulated information it collected to defame the social media company.
Paxton said his office would investigate allegations that Media Matters — which he called a “radical anti-free speech organization” — violated Texas laws protecting consumers from fraud.
“We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been misled by the plans of radical left organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” he said. Paxton said in a statement Monday evening. .
Two of Paxton’s former top lieutenants have filed the suit, former Solicitor General Judd Stone and former Deputy Attorney General Christopher Hilton. Stone and Hilton left the Texas attorney general’s office shortly after helping to successfully defend their former boss during Paxton’s impeachment trial.
Last Thursday, Media Matters published a report titled “X Placed Ads for Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle and Xfinity Next to Pro-Nazi Content.” The story included examples of anti-Semitic and white nationalist content appearing near advertisements from major brands.
After the report, several companies, including IBM, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal and others, announced their decision to suspend advertising on the platform.
Musk’s lawsuit claims that Media Matters — and the article’s author, senior investigative journalist Eric Hananoki, who is named as a defendant — falsely portrayed X as a risky and dangerous platform.
The petition alleges that Media Matters “knowingly and maliciously fabricated side-by-side images depicting advertisers’ posts” on the social media platform alongside white nationalist and anti-Semitic content. According to the lawsuit, the report misrepresents the average user’s experience on X in an effort to harm the social media company.
Media Matters did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening.
X filed the lawsuit in Texas because the Media Matters report potentially threatens social media’s relationships with advertisers located in the state and millions of Texas users, according to court documents.
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