Australia drops its court case against Musk’s X for church stabbing posts

After a loss in federal court last month, Australia’s cyber-safety regulator decided on Wednesday to drop a legal action against Elon Musk’s X for the removal of videos showing the stabbing an Assyrian Church Bishop in Sydney.

In May, Judge Geoffrey Kennett rejected the request of the eSafety Commissioner to extend the temporary order that the social media platform block videos from the knife attack. Australian authorities had referred to the attack as a terrorist act.

In a press release, Commissioner Julie Inman Grant stated that the regulator has decided to drop all legal actions against X.

Grant stated that “most Australians agree this type of graphic material shouldn’t be broadcast on television. This begs the obvious question as to why it should be available online 24/7 for anyone to access, including children.”

She expressed concern about the ease with which children could access violent content via X.

Grant stated that she initially issued X a notice to remove video to prevent “extremely violence footage” from going viral, potentially inciting more violence and inflicting further harm to the community.

She said, “I support my investigators and eSafety’s decisions.”

A 16-year old boy was charged with a terrorist offence in connection with the alleged April attack.

Musk’s legal dispute sparked heated debates with senior Australian officials, including Anthony Albanese. Albanese called Musk an “arrogant billionaire” because of his refusal to remove the video. Musk posted memes that criticised the regulatory order and called it censorship.

When asked, other major platforms like Meta, TikTok and Telegram removed the video.

X blocked Australian users from seeing the posts, but refused to remove the posts globally because one country’s laws should not be able to control the internet.

The regulator argued, however, that the geo-blocking of Australians that X proposed was ineffective, because many users used virtual private network to disguise their location.

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