Australia drops case against X over stabbing videos

Australia has abandoned a legal battle to have graphic footage of a church stabbing in Sydney removed from Elon Musk’s social media platform X.

Declared a terror incident by police, the attack on bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in April was livestreamed online and led to riots outside the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, an independent regulator, threatened X and other social media companies with hefty fines if they did not remove videos of the stabbing, concerned it could incite further violence.

The case was seen as a test of Australia’s ability to enforce its online safety rules on the social media giants.

The Federal Court had temporarily ordered X hide the videos – but it refused to comply saying the order was not valid.

X, formerly Twitter, did eventually block access to the video in Australia, but users could easily get around this by using a VPN.

But Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant – who herself once worked for Twitter – had asked for the video to be removed globally, prompting Mr Musk to call her a “censorship commissar”.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded by labelling Musk an “arrogant billionaire”.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ms Inman-Grant said owing to “multiple considerations”, dropping the case was “likely to achieve the most positive outcome for the online safety of all Australians, especially children”.

“Our sole goal and focus in issuing our removal notice was to prevent this extremely violent footage from going viral, potentially inciting further violence and inflicting more harm on the Australian community,” she said.

She added that she stood by the decisions the eSafety Commission had made – and the Minister for Communication Michelle Rowland said the same in parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement on X, the firm’s Global Government Affairs team said they were “heartened to see that freedom of speech has prevailed”.

It had previously argued the commission’s orders were “unlawful and dangerous”.

“Global takedown orders go against the very principles of a free and open internet and threaten free speech everywhere,” it said in a statement.

“This was a tragic event and we do not allow people to praise it or call for further violence,” it added.

Ms Inman-Grant on Wednesday told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Mr Musk’s attention resulted in a pile-on from his millions of followers – which included death threats and the personal information of her children being exposed online.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *