Australia drops legal challenge against Musk’s X over violent video removal

Elon Musk and Australian officials, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, engaged in heated exchanges over the issue.

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Australia’s cyber safety regulator has decided to drop its legal challenge against Elon Musk-owned X (formerly Twitter) concerning the removal of videos depicting the stabbing of an Assyrian church bishop in Sydney. The decision follows a setback in May when a federal court judge rejected a request to extend a temporary order for X to block the videos, which Australian authorities deemed a terrorist attack.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant highlighted the issue of graphic material being accessible online, especially to children, and criticised X’s initial refusal to remove the violent content globally. Grant emphasised the original intent to prevent the footage from going viral, which could incite further violence and harm the community, defending the regulator’s actions despite the legal outcome.

Why does it matter?

The incident, which involved a 16-year-old boy charged with a terrorism offence, also led to a public clash between Musk and Australian officials, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Musk’s criticisms of the regulatory order as censorship sparked controversy, while other major platforms like Meta, TikTok, Reddit, and Telegram complied with removal requests. X had opted to geo-block the content in Australia, a solution deemed ineffective by the regulator due to users employing virtual private networks.