Musk Defends Stabbing Video, Accuses Australia of Internet Censorship

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.24 - 2024 8:25 AM CET

Photo: Frederic Legrand - CAMEO /
Photo: Frederic Legrand - CAMEO /
Elon Musk, owner of X, escalated his criticism of Australian officials after a court order required the platform to remove video footage showing a knife attack.

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Elon Musk, the owner of social media platform X (formerly Twitter), intensified his criticism of Australian officials after a court order directed the platform to remove video content depicting a knife attack on an Assyrian bishop during a church service in Sydney.

Australian Court Order and Reaction

Australia's federal court recently ordered X to temporarily remove video footage of a knife attack during a church service in Sydney, according to Reuters.

Musk responded by accusing Australian leaders of censoring the internet, which provoked backlash from lawmakers. Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie, protesting the video's publication, deleted her X account and urged other politicians to follow suit, claiming Musk had "no social conscience." She also remarked that Musk should be jailed.

Musk, who has over 180 million followers on X, responded by suggesting that Lambie should be jailed for advocating censorship on the platform. This aligned with a post by an unnamed X user who said Lambie "should be in jail for censoring free speech on X." Musk agreed, calling her "an enemy of the people of Australia."

This isn't the first time Musk has targeted individuals critical of his platform.

As the world's third-wealthiest person, he often opposes government attempts to increase oversight of social media content. In Brazil, Musk publicly criticized a judge for directing X to block certain accounts during an investigation into digital militias, labeling him a "dictator."

Musk's Remarks on Australian Gun Laws

Musk's criticism of Australian officials extended to gun laws when he promoted a post from a verified X user that suggested the country's 1996 gun buy-back and registration scheme was meant to prevent resistance against a "fascist government." Musk responded to the post with an exclamation mark.

Meanwhile, Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neill condemned social media platforms, accusing them of fostering "civil division" and "social unrest." She criticized Musk's court battle for focusing on the right to display "alleged terrorist content."

Legal Proceedings

The legal conflict centers on a temporary takedown order following a violent incident. A 16-year-old has been charged with terrorism for attacking an Assyrian bishop during a Sydney church service. Videos online showed the youth restrained by the congregation, shouting at the bishop for insulting Islam.

Despite the court's directive, the footage remained visible on X in Australia. A lawyer representing X argued that the global takedown order had "exorbitant jurisdiction," pointing out that the bishop attacked in the footage preferred the video to remain online.

Federal court judge Geoffrey Kennett extended the temporary takedown order until a hearing on May 10. Musk's company intends to appeal the order, asserting it complied with the original ruling by blocking the footage for Australians while keeping it accessible elsewhere.

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