Elon Musk Clashes With Australian Court Over Violent Videos on X

An Australian court on Wednesday extended an injunction ordering the social media platform X to remove videos depicting the recent stabbing of a bishop, setting the country’s judicial system up for a clash with the company’s owner, Elon Musk, who has decried the court’s order as censorship.

Videos of the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a church service on April 15 quickly started circulating on X, racking up hundreds of thousands of views. Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, a regulator overseeing online safety, ordered X and other social media platforms to remove posts showing the video the next day.

Other platforms complied, and X blocked the content for Australian viewers. But Mr. Musk said that the platform would not delete the videos, which remain visible to users globally, prompting a judge to issue a temporary injunction against the company on Monday. That order was extended on Wednesday until a May 10 hearing, and X faces potential daily fines of roughly $509,000 for noncompliance.

“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?” Mr. Musk wrote in a Monday post on X. “We have already censored the content in question for Australia, pending legal appeal, and it is stored only on servers in the USA.”

The decision to leave the content online in defiance of local laws is an about-face for Mr. Musk, who acquired Twitter, now called X, in 2022 promising to turn it into a haven for free speech. The only content that would be removed, Mr. Musk said at the time, was that which violated local laws.

But in recent weeks, Mr. Musk has become more defiant regarding legal orders to remove content from X, testing the boundaries of international legal systems and rallying his fans to put pressure on regulators around the globe.

Back to top button