Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Musk loses Australia court hearing on Sydney knife attack posts

Musk loses Australia court hearing on Sydney knife attack posts
A forensic police member investigates a knife attack at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley, Sidney on 16 April. Photographer: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Elon Musk’s social network X has been hit with an interim injunction by an Australian court to remove footage of a stabbing attack, prompting a furious response from the owner who accused the government of censorship.

In a hearing on Monday night in Sydney, the Federal Court of Australia ordered X to hide all recordings of a terrorist attack at a church in the city on 15 April until Wednesday. The court will then convene for a second hearing at a later date to determine the validity of the eSafety commissioner’s removal notice.

In response to the ruling, Musk posted an image suggesting X was the only social media site standing up for free speech, while saying the Australian government didn’t have a right to censor content in other countries.

“Our concern is that if any country is allowed to censor content for all countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?” Musk said in a post to X on Monday night.

Don’t take my word for it, just ask the Australian PM!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 22, 2024

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said no one was above the law, and labelled the tech entrepreneur as “arrogant” and out of touch.

“This is a bloke who’s chosen ego and showing violence over common sense. I think that Australians will shake their head when they think that this billionaire is prepared to go to court fighting for the right to sow division and to show violent videos which are very distressing,” Albanese said in an interview with Sky News on Tuesday.

Australia’s eSafety commissioner ordered social media companies including X and Meta Platforms Inc. — operator of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram — to remove graphic videos showing the stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church last week. However, while some complied, a spokesperson for X said in a public statement that the commissioner “does not have the authority to dictate what content X’s users can see globally”.

The refusal has sparked a furious backlash from Australian legislators and renewed calls for broader restrictions targeting social media companies, including misinformation laws flagged by the Australian government over the past year.


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