Home Tech Australian court orders Elon Musk’s X to hide Sydney church stabbing posts from users around the world

Australian court orders Elon Musk’s X to hide Sydney church stabbing posts from users around the world

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Australian court orders Elon Musk's X to hide Sydney church stabbing posts from users around the world

The Australian federal court has ordered Elon Musk’s X to hide from users around the world posts containing videos of a stabbing in a Sydney church last week, after the eSafety commissioner launched an urgent court case on Monday night looking for a court order.

X, together with Meta, received the order of the commissioner of Esafety, Julie Inman Grant, on Tuesday of last week to eliminate material that will be considered to represent “free or offensive violence with a high degree of impact or detail” within the 24 hours or potentially face fines.

The material was footage of the alleged stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel last Monday night while giving a live-streamed service at the Assyrian Church of Christ the Good Shepherd in Wakeley.

At the weekend, X said it had complied with the request but intended to launch a legal case challenging the orders.

At a hearing late Monday afternoon, eSafety lawyer Christopher Tran told Judge Geoffrey Kennett that X had geo-blocked posts containing the video, meaning Australians could not access them. However, the posts were still accessible globally and to Australians using a virtual private network (VPN) connection that caused their IP address to appear outside of Australia.

Tran said that meant that X did not comply with the online safety law regarding the removal of the material.

The agency wanted the posts removed, with an interim measure to block access to the posts globally.

X’s legal representative, Marcus Hoyne, requested that the matter be adjourned. He noted that it was around 2 a.m. in San Francisco, where X is based, and he had no instructions from his client on the matter.

Kennett said the “best course” was to issue the interim order pending a later hearing, and ordered the content to be included in a global notice, with the interim order in effect until 5pm Wednesday, April 24, Sydney time. .

Deputy Treasurer Stephen Jones on Monday described

In a statement after the hearing, a spokesperson for the eSafety commissioner said the notice did not cover public comments or discussions about the event, but only the video of the alleged stabbing.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Monday that “the pain of many people has been exacerbated by what happened on social media.”

Albanese said there was no place for the broadcast of violent images, adding: “I find it extraordinary that X has decided not to comply and is trying to plead his case.”

Meta was found to have complied with the request, but on Saturday morning Australian time, X accused the online safety regulator of “global censorship” and said it would challenge the orders in court. The company argued it did not believe the orders fell within the scope of Australian law.

“Australian censorship commissioner calls for *global* content bans!” Musk said in a tweet.

On Monday, Jones responded that the government “will fight this.”

“At the same time, we are looking at all the laws in these areas to ensure that our regulators have the power to do what is necessary to keep our online platforms safe,” he told ABC’s RN Breakfast. “And then Twitter cannot be the place where criminals go, the place where maniacs and criminals go to spread their messages. At the moment it is a factory of trolls and misinformation that damages the company’s brand, but at the same time it greatly damages social cohesion.”

He said it was “incredibly disappointing” that Musk decided to “mock” the legal direction rather than comply with it.

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“Decency cannot be dead. And I think any Australian who saw that would say, “Come on.” Like it was a pretty simple and straightforward request. “It is a legal request.”

National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Bill Shorten told the ABC that X was expressing an attitude that he was “above the laws of a nation”.

“It is nothing exceptional for a nation to say we want to remove some of the most violent and shocking images, and somehow say we have freedom of speech, but we are allowed to pollute the metaphorical airwaves with vile and imaginative horrors: no one can vote by X”.

The regulator said eSafety had worked in cooperation with other companies, including Google, Microsoft, Snap and TikTok, to remove the same material.

On Sunday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton expressed support for eSafety’s actions and said X considered himself above the law.

“Australian law does apply and the fact is that X, Meta and other companies have a presence here. They literally generate, or at least generate, billions of dollars of revenue in the Australian economy,” he said. “I think what they are worried about is the flow to other markets, if the laws of Australia are respected.

“I think that’s one more reason for us to take a stand; it’s important for us, but also for other democracies.”

Greens communications spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said Musk should “come forward” to parliament.

“Online tech bullies are operating as if they are in the Wild West. “Elon Musk should face the Australian people, he should face parliament here and argue why his company should not have a social conscience and he should not be doing the right thing,” he said.

It is the latest salvo in a battle between X and the eSafety commissioner. Last year, the eSafety commissioner launched legal proceedings for failing to pay a $610,500 fine for allegedly failing to provide information about how he was tackling online child abuse material. X has also initiated legal proceedings to challenge the ruling.

The company also stated last month that it would launch a case over a tweet that allegedly bullied a trans man and who was denied access by the company in Australia after an eSafety notice. The case has not yet been filed in federal court.

X has been contacted for comment.

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