World News

Australia drops court action against Musk’s X over church stabbing posts

By Renju José

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s cybersecurity regulator decided on Wednesday to drop a lawsuit against Elon Musk-owned X over the deletion of videos of the stabbing of an Assyrian church bishop in Sydney, after a setback last month in the Federal Court.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett in May rejected an application by the eSafety commissioner to extend a temporary order allowing the social media platform to block videos of the stabbing, which Australian authorities had labeled a terrorist attack .

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said in a statement that the regulator had decided to drop its legal action against X.

“Most Australians accept that this type of graphic material should not be broadcast on television, which raises the obvious question of why it should be allowed to be freely distributed and accessible online 24/7 at everyone, including children,” Grant said.

She said a major concern was the ease with which children could access violent content on X.

Grant said she initially issued notice to

“I support my investigators and the decisions made by eSafety,” she said.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with terrorism over the alleged April attack.

The legal battle sparked heated exchanges between Musk and senior Australian officials, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who called Musk an “arrogant billionaire” for his objections to the video’s removal. Musk has posted memes criticizing the regulatory order, describing it as censorship.

Other major platforms such as Meta, TikTok, Reddit and Telegram took down the video when asked.

X had blocked Australian users from viewing the posts, but refused to remove them globally on the grounds that a country’s rules should not control the internet.

But the regulator argued that geo-blocking Australians, the solution proposed by X, was ineffective because many users were using virtual private networks that concealed their location.

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; editing by Michael Perry)

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