Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has launched an investigation into Media Matters for America (“Media Matters”), a pro-censorship media monitoring organization, citing allegations of potentially unlawful business practices. The focus of the probe revolves around Media Matters’ strategies in targeting advertisers on social media platforms and their approach to content aimed at impacting various businesses and organizations.
Key areas of the investigation include the preservation of internal communications related to strategies for targeting advertisers on X (formerly known as Twitter), interactions with major corporations like IBM, Lionsgate Entertainment, Apple, Disney, Warner Brothers Discovery, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Comcast, Sony, Ubisoft, and Walmart, and communications with third parties about these subjects. The Attorney General’s office is also scrutinizing Media Matters’ internal policies and operations concerning the generation of content intended to “cancel,” “deplatform,” “demonetize,” or interfere with Missouri-based businesses or those utilized by Missouri residents.
The letter states: “As you are no doubt aware, a federal lawsuit has been filed against Media Matters, raising serious allegations that your firm falsely and deceptively manipulated the algorithm on X (formerly known as Twitter) through coordinated, inauthentic behavior and that you did so in an attempt to defame the organization and cause advertisers to pull their support from the platform, thus harming free speech.”
Read the full letter here.
In a formal document hold notice sent to Angelo Carusone, President of Media Matters, Attorney General Bailey outlined the nature of the investigation.
The notice references a federal lawsuit alleging that Media Matters engaged in coordinated, inauthentic behavior on X to manipulate algorithms, defame the organization, and influence advertisers to withdraw their support, thereby harming free speech. The lawsuit accuses Media Matters of misleading the public and soliciting charitable donations under false pretenses.
In response to Musk’s original accusations against the group, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone released the following statement: “Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.”
The Attorney General expressed concerns that these alleged actions might violate Missouri consumer protection laws, particularly those prohibiting nonprofit entities from soliciting funds under false pretenses. As part of the investigation, Media Matters is instructed to preserve a wide array of records, including internal communications, strategies, and correspondences with third parties and major corporations related to their activities on X and their content generation policies.
The preservation order encompasses documents in all forms, including electronic communications, letters, emails, texts, drafts, notes, memoranda, and voicemails, across both work and personal devices. Media Matters’ employees and contractors are also required to be informed of their obligations to preserve evidence in this case.
The investigation into Media Matters by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office marks a significant development in the ongoing debates surrounding free speech, social media, and the role of media monitoring organizations in influencing public discourse and corporate decision-making.
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