Australia PM criticizes Musk after X post ruling

April 23, 2024 2:40 pm

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese [Source: Reuters]

An Australian court has ordered X to hide some posts commenting on the stabbing of a bishop in Sydney, deepening a war of words between the social media platform’s owner Elon Musk and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Australia’s federal court late on Monday granted the country’s cyber regulator, the eSafety commissioner, a two-day injunction requiring the social media platform to hide some posts on a knife attack last week against an Assyrian church bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, during a service at his church.

Albanese on Tuesday hit out at Musk, calling him an “arrogant billionaire” for pushing back against the Australian government’s calls to take down the content.

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X had blocked the content for its users in Australia but said it would not block the posts for users outside the country, arguing that the government had no authority to dictate content its users can see globally.

Videos of the attack posted online showed the attacker, restrained by the congregation, shouting at the bishop for insulting Islam. Police have charged a 16-year-old with a terrorism offence over the attack.

The regulator had asked X to remove certain posts that publicly commented on the attack, which could include videos.

Judge Geoffrey Kennett, in an after-hours hearing, ordered X to block access to the posts until Wednesday afternoon, court documents showed. The matter will be considered again on Wednesday.

Albanese said social media must have social responsibility but Musk was fighting to keep violent content on his platform.