Elon Musk loses Australia court hearing on Sydney knife attack posts

Albanese said no one was above the law, and labelled Musk as ‘arrogant’ and out of touch. — AP

Elon Musk’s social network X has been hit with an interim injunction by an Australian court to remove footage of a stabbing attack, prompting a furious response from the owner who accused the government of censorship.

In a hearing Monday night (April 22) in Sydney, the Federal Court of Australia ordered X must hide all recordings of a terrorist attack at a church in the city on April 15 until Wednesday. The court will then convene for a second hearing at a later date to determine the validity of the eSafety commissioner’s removal notice.

In response to the ruling, Musk posted an image suggesting X was the only social media site standing up for free speech, while saying the Australian government didn’t have a right to censor content in other countries.

“Our concern is that if any country is allowed to censor content for all countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?” Musk said in a post to X on Monday night.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said no one was above the law, and labeled the tech entrepreneur as “arrogant” and out of touch.

“This is a bloke who’s chosen ego and showing violence over common sense. I think that Australians will shake their head when they think that this billionaire is prepared to go to court fighting for the right to sow division and to show violent videos which are very distressing,” Albanese said in an interview with Sky News on Tuesday.

Australia’s eSafety commissioner ordered social media companies including X and Meta Platforms Inc – operator of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – to remove graphic videos showing the stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church last week. However, while some complied, a spokesperson for X said in a public statement that the commissioner “does not have the authority to dictate what content X’s users can see globally”.

The refusal has sparked a furious backlash from Australian lawmakers and renewed calls for broader restrictions targeting social media companies, including misinformation laws flagged by the Australian government over the past year. – Bloomberg

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