X fights Australia to keep violent video on its platform globally

  • After losing a battle with Brazil, Elon Musk now faces a tussle with Australia.
  • The country ordered X to remove content related to a stabbing last week or face a daily fine.
  • X has said it will challenge this order and by extension allow the sharing of the video and comments on it outside of Australia.

Last week a teenager allegedly stabbed two clerics in Australia. Unfortunately, the incident was filmed and that video has been doing the rounds online.

The Australian government has ordered social media firms to stop the spread of that video and seemingly all have complied except one, X.

Now this is where things get messy. Per X owner Elon Musk, the platform has already complied with an order to censor the video on X in Australia. However, the Aussy government now wants the video censored worldwide, something many, including Musk, believe is an overstep.

“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?” Musk pondered.

But this goes further than just a video according to X’s Global Government Affairs team. The team reports that Australia’s government not only wanted to censor the video but comments about the incident as well. Despite these posts not violating X’s rules on violent speech (which honestly, doesn’t mean all that much given the absolute horrors that are posted on the platform daily) it removed the posts.

However, the social network is drawing a potentially costly line in the sand as it now faces a fine for not blocking the content globally.

“X has now received a demand from the eSafety Commissioner that X globally withhold these posts or face a daily fine of $785,000 AUD (about $500,000 USD). This was a tragic event and we do not allow people to praise it or call for further violence. There is a public conversation happening about the event, on X and across Australia, as is often the case when events of major public concern occur,” the Global Government Affairs team wrote.

“While X respects the right of a country to enforce its laws within its jurisdiction, the eSafety Commissioner does not have the authority to dictate what content X’s users can see globally. We will robustly challenge this unlawful and dangerous approach in court. Global takedown orders go against the very principles of a free and open internet and threaten free speech everywhere,” X added.

Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese told Sky News that Musk has chosen showing off his ego and violence instead of common sense.

“I think that Australians will shake their head when they think that this billionaire is prepared to go to court fighting for the right to sow division and show violent videos which are very distressing. He is in social media but he has a social responsibility in order to have that social license and what has occurred here is that the eSafety commissioner has made very sensible suggestions. Other social media companies have complied with that complaint. But this bloke thinks he’s above the Australian law, that he’s above common decency and I tell you what, I say to Elon Musk that he is so out of touch with what the Australian public want,” the PM said.

Now, there is a debate to be had about a country trying to impose its laws on the world, but the more pertinent debate, in our view, is why Musk is fighting tooth and nail to keep violent videos and rhetoric on his platform.

As Albanese mentions, other social media platforms complied with the order because, well, who wants to be hosting content that may alarm most users? Musk however, the free speech absolutist (when it suits him) appears to think this content is edgy and will have folks flocking to the platform in their thousands to see a teenager stab a clergyman and the ensuing abuse, all in the name of free speech.

We don’t expect X to keep this stance for very long given that it changed its tune with Brazil in mere hours. The fact is that $500 000 is a lot of money for a platform that appears to be living from hand to mouth and losing that money on the basis of defending “free speech” is an awful way to go bankrupt.


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