Elon Musk Clashes with Australian Government Over Violent Video Takedown

Elon Musk clashes with Australian government over X's handling of violent video content, highlighting ongoing tensions between tech platforms and online content regulation.

Geeta Pillai
Updated On
New Update
Elon Musk Clashes with Australian Government Over Violent Video Takedown

Elon Musk Clashes with Australian Government Over Violent Video Takedown

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), is embroiled in a dispute with the Australian government over the platform's handling of videos from a church stabbing incident in Sydney. The Australian Federal Court directed X to temporarily hide posts showing footage of the attack, in which a teenager was charged with terrorism for attacking an Assyrian priest and others.

Musk criticized the ruling, contending that it meant any country could control "the entire internet." He posted a meme on X portraying the platform as a symbol for "free speech and truth" while other social media platforms represented "censorship and propaganda." Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded to Musk, describing him as an "arrogant billionaire who thinks he's above the law, but also above common decency."

The Australian eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, issued a removal notice to X, requiring it to take steps to remove the violent video content. She is seeking a permanent injunction and civil penalties against the company. Musk said that the content has been blocked for Australian IP addresses, but maintains that extending one country's rulings to other countries would be inappropriate.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the ongoing tension between internet platforms and governments seeking more oversight of online content. Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion with a mission to promote free speech, has faced criticism that harmful content has increased on the site under his leadership.

The dispute has led to bipartisan support for the eSafety commissioner in Australia, with the government and opposition indicating they may seek to strengthen the commissioner's powers if needed. "The eSafety Commission, which describes itself as the world's first government agency dedicated to keeping people safer online, applied for a temporary global ban on sharing the video," according to the provided summaries. A hearing for a permanent ban is scheduled for April 24, 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • Musk disputes Australian court order to hide church stabbing video on X platform.
  • Australian eSafety commissioner seeks permanent injunction and penalties against X over video.
  • Musk argues extending one country's rulings to entire internet is inappropriate.
  • Dispute highlights tension between internet platforms and government content oversight.
  • Australia may seek to strengthen eSafety commissioner's powers if needed.