A Berlin-based software developer is fighting back after X suspended his account, claiming that research he conducted on the platform violated the company’s terms of service.
Following Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of the platform, Travis Brown‘s research figured heavily in reporting that painted X, formerly Twitter, in an unflattering light. Brown worked on open source projects at Twitter for a year well before Musk’s tenure. After Musk’s purchase, he began researching hate speech and account suspensions on the platform, collecting X data through a software tool he built in conjunction with the Open Knowledge Foundation, a data transparency nonprofit.
Brown announced plans to fight to restore his account with support from HateAid, a German organization that combats digital violence. With the group’s help, Brown won an injunction and had his account restored the first time around, though X appears to be digging in and lawyering up with an outside law firm for this round. That firm filed a 36-page letter in an attempt to end run another legal challenge from Brown, who is now appealing the Berlin District Court’s rejection of his request for another injunction.
“X’s actions are an attempt to silence researchers who are monitoring extremism and disinformation on the platform,” Brown said, arguing that the company’s behavior makes the platform “increasingly dangerous.”
“We will not be silenced, though, and will continue to collect and share data, because we all have a right to understand the effects that these platforms have on our world.“