Elon Musk’s X scores victory against Australian Government over church stabbing videos

Billionaires

Elon Musk scored a victory against the Australian government on Monday after a court refused a request to extend an order forcing X to hide videos of a violent church stabbing, the latest step in a bitter feud pitting the free-speech crusading billionaire against lawmakers branding him as arrogant and lacking social responsibility.
The New York Times Hosts Its Annual DealBook Summit

Elon Musk’s X has challenged Australia’s efforts to remove content involving a Sydney church stabbing.

Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • Australia’s Federal Court sided with Musk’s social media platform over the country’s digital regulator by refusing to extend a temporary court order for it to hide videos of a Sydney church stabbing in April, which was caught on a live stream and declared a terrorist attack by the government.
  • The court previously granted an injunction blocking more than 60 posts showing footage of the attack on X, which eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant sought after X decided to only hide the videos in Australia instead of removing them worldwide.
  • This order was due to expire on Monday and Justice Geoffrey Kennett declined Inman Grant’s request to extend it, according to news reports of the brief hearing.
  • Kennett did not reveal the reasons for his decision and the reasons for the judgment are expected to be released later on Monday.
  • The matter has been listed for a court hearing on Wednesday, according to Reuters, and a final hearing is expected in mid June.
Key Background

While many social media platforms swiftly complied with Australian officials’ requests to remove the videos of the knife attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel while delivering a sermon, Musk and X pushed back.

While acknowledging Australia’s right to police content and enforce laws within its borders, the company and Musk bristled at the regulator’s request to take down content worldwide, which it claimed was necessary to effectively stop Australians from seeing it.

The company vowed to legally challenge any orders to take down content beyond Australia’s borders and branded such a request as an overreach, a threat to free speech and assault on “the very principles of a free and open internet.”

It is one of several instances where Musk’s free speech principles has brought him into conflict with governments around the world over attempts to censor online content.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Musk an “arrogant billionaire” with a lack of any sense of social responsibility for his company in response to the incident.

Related

Forbes Valuation

Musk is worth an estimated $191.2 billion. He is the third richest person on Earth, after LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and ahead of Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, who he has publicly challenged to a cage fight.

Musk’s wealth and influence largely comes from the cohort of companies he cofounded and leads including Tesla and SpaceX, as well as the social media firm, X, which he acquired in 2022 and hopes to turn into a trillion dollareverything app.”

More from Forbes Australia