Australian online watchdog drops case against X for stabbing video

MELBOURNE Australia’s online safety monitor said on June 5, she had dropped the Federal Court case in which she tried to force X Corp, to remove a video showing a Sydney Bishop being stabbed.

eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant has said that she will continue to take legal action at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in order to stop the platform from being rebranded after Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, bought Twitter in 2023.

Musk posted on X that “Freedom is worth fighting for.”

X brought the case to the tribunal that reviews the administrative decisions of bureaucrats. The Federal Court case was also ongoing.

Inman Grant said that cost was a major factor in her decision “to consolidate” the legal action taken by her commission against X.

Inman Grant, Australian Broadcasting Corp., said that “the real questions I wanted tested through an independent merits assessment will be done by the AAT. It didn’t make any sense for me fighting on two fronts, when, let’s be honest, the war will be longer and more prolonged” than initially thought.

Inman Grant revealed that her legal actions against X led to online attacks on her and her family, including the malicious online release of personal or identifying data without the subject’s consent. This is known as doxxing.

She blamed Musk the attacks.

Inman Grant stated that “He sent a dog-whistle to 181,000,000 users worldwide, which led to death threats being directed at me. This resulted into doxxing my family, including my children.”

“I think that with great power, comes great responsibility, and I believe that exercising this restraint in targeting a regulator, who is here to safeguard the citizens of Australia is beyond the pale. It’s not surprising given the fact that he has sued and targeted academics, NGOs and other researchers who dare criticise safety of the X Platform,” she said.

Michelle Rowland, Minister of Communications, backed Inman grant’s decision to bring X before the Federal Court as well as her decision to dismiss the case.

Rowland said in Parliament that “the government supports our regulators, and we support the eSafety commissioner in particular in light of the reprehensible threat to her physical security and threats to her and her family’s safety in the course of her work.”

X was the only social media platform to refuse eSafety’s order that a 16-year old stab an Assyrian Orthodox Bishop in a Sydney Church on April 15, while a service was streaming online.

While Meta, Microsoft and Google removed the video from their platforms, X only geoblocked Australian X users.

The Australian Federal Court was contacted to impose a worldwide ban on video sharing.

Musk used his personal X-Account to criticize Australia for interfering in free speech, and to call Inman Grant the “Australian censorship commissioner”.

Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, called Musk an “arrogant millionaire” who thought he was above the law and out of touch with society.

eSafety lost in court on the 13th of May when a judge rescinded an injunction requiring the San Francisco-based firm to hide all content worldwide. Justice Geoffrey Kennett ruled that the global ban on the platform was not reasonable.

After the case was dismissed, X wrote: “This case raised important questions about how legal powers could be used to threaten global censorship. We are encouraged to see that free speech has triumphed.”

Inman Grant stated that her commission has five more legal cases against X. These include the failure of X to disclose how it combats child sexual abuse materials. AP

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