X Corp. v. Center for Countering Digital Hate

A lawsuit claiming that public-interest research violated a platform’s terms of service

On November 24, 2023, the Knight Institute, the ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief in X Corp. v. CCDH, a lawsuit in federal district court claiming that CCDH violated X Corp.’s terms of service in researching the prevalence of hate speech on the platform.

X Corp.’s lawsuit claims that CCDH’s research violated the company’s terms of service because CCDH relied on the automated collection of public data—often called “scraping”—which the company’s terms prohibit. The company further argues that the research cost it millions of dollars in advertising revenue, because advertisers have apparently responded to CCDH’s research by pulling their advertisements from the platform.

The Institute’s amicus brief urges the court to dismiss X Corp.’s breach-of-contract claim, arguing that enforcing the company’s terms of service to shut down public-interest research would violate public policy. The brief points out that the automated collection of public data is one of most important tools available for researchers attempting to independently study the social media platforms and the ways in which they are shaping public discourse.

Status: On March 25, 2024, the court granted CCDH's motion to dismiss X Corp.'s lawsuit.

Case information: X Corp. v. Center for Countering Digital Hate, No. 23-cv-03836 (N.D. Cal.).

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