Helena Lyng Blak
4 weeks ago

Elon Musk Claims Censorship; Australia PM Claims He is an “Arrogant Billionaire”

Australia's PM and Elon Musk clash over content censorship on social media, spotlighting global debates on digital governance.
photosince / Shutterstock.com
photosince / Shutterstock.com

On Monday, April 15, 2024, a male teenager attacked and stabbed multiple people, including Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, during a church service in Wakeley, Australia.

The attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was captured on video and subsequently shared across social media, as the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church was livestreaming the service.

The eSafety Commission issued notices to Meta and X, under the Australian Online Safety Act, requiring them to remove the videos from their platforms.

Meta complied fully, while X complied partially by geoblocking the videos for Australian users but left them available outside Australia, pending a legal appeal. 

X, according to a BBC report, contested the court order's jurisdiction, claiming it exceeded the scope of Australian law.

“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?” said Elon Musk in a post on X.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, however, supported the decision of the eSafety commissioner. 

“We'll do what's necessary to take on this arrogant billionaire who thinks he's above the law, but also above common decency. What the e-Safety Commissioner is doing is doing her job to protect the interests of Australians,” he said in an interview with ABC News, taking a pragmatic approach, saying, “the idea that someone would go to court for the right to put up violent content on a platform shows how out-of-touch Mr Musk is.”

It is not the first time this month, Musk has feuded with world leaders and national courts. Earlier in April, Musk raged against the Brazilian Supreme Court after they ordered X to block a set of accounts or face fines.

It is also not the first time Musk is in a conflict with the Australian eSafety Commission specifically.

In February of last year, the Commission asked X to outline its plans to combat content depicting the sexual abuse of children on the platform. X allegedly did not respond, resulting in a fine. X refused to pay and launched ongoing legal proceedings to overturn the fine.

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