Australia ends legal fight for X to remove violent stabbing video

X removed the content in Australia but not globally.

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Australia's independent regulator for online safety has ended its bid to remove a violent video from X (formerly Twitter).

On April 15, a clergyman was stabbed in Sydney, Australia, and, like some other horrific incidents these days, it was broadcast online. Australia's national regulator, eSafety, requested that all social media platforms take down the video. While eSafety claims Meta, Google, TikTok and more removed it, X only stopped Australian viewers from accessing the video — something a VPN can easily circumvent. When eSafety pushed for it to be fully taken down, X's CEO Elon Musk called the request an assault on free speech and argued that one country's laws couldn't control the entire world, The Register reported.

Despite dropping the fight against X, eSafety further reiterated their frustrations. "Our sole goal and focus in issuing our removal notice was to prevent this extremely violent footage from going viral, potentially inciting further violence and inflicting more harm on the Australian community," Julie Inman Grant, the commissioner of eSafety, stated. "Most Australians accept this kind of graphic material should not be on broadcast television, which begs an obvious question of why it should be allowed to be distributed freely and accessible online 24/7 to anyone, including children."

Grant notes that X did take down a video globally that compiled this attack with two other stabbing incidents. She also details the violence policy X laid out to the European Commission last October as proof that the platform should remove the video entirely. "...our service has clear rules that prohibit violent and hateful entities, perpetrators of violent attacks, violent speech, sensitive media and the synthetic and manipulated media policy," the passage states. "For the avoidance of doubt, we strictly adhere to our policies concerning illegal content and we continue to remove illegal content, including terrorist content, from our platform." In that vein, she calls taking down the video a "reasonable request" for X to take.