Media Matters came out last week with a report that global brands X ads were appearing next to content that “promotes Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.” Despite the fact that Elon Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino denied the allegations, several giant companies – such as IBM, Apple and Walt Disney – also stopped their ads running on X.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has opened an investigation into Media Matters on suspicion of fraud. Elon Musk announced this on his X page.
Fraud carries both civil and criminal penalties
– he wrote to the post, in which he also shared a scanned version of the document proving the start of the investigation.
However, it is important to mention that the Attorney General and X do not claim that Media Matters’ claim about pro-Nazi content was false – in fact, the latter itself admits that the screenshots presented by the organization as evidence are real.
The lawsuit and the investigation were initiated because there was a good chance that the organization could manipulate X’s algorithm in such a way that anti-Semitic content would pop up next to the ads in question, reports The Verge.
According to their claim, Media Matters manipulated the algorithms governing X’s user experience to create images displaying racist, inciting content next to paid posts from X’s largest advertisers – circumventing the security system.
According to X, the alleged manipulation took place by creating an account with which to follow only global brands and profiles sharing extreme content, then scrolling and updating the carefully selected news feed until the content falling into the two categories was matched by the algorithm. From there, all you had to do was wait for the ads to pop up next to the Nazi-sympathetic content, and the compromising screenshots could already be taken.