Australia's Albanese labels Musk 'arrogant billionaire' in social media row

Elon Musk has responded to Australian internet watchdog's efforts to compel his social media platform X to block users from accessing violent footage connected to the Sydney church stabbing. (Photo/AP)

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has escalated his government's social media feud with Elon Musk by branding him an "arrogant billionaire."

This comes after an Australian court on Monday ordered X to hide some posts commenting on the stabbing of a bishop in Sydney.

Australia's federal court granted the country's cyber regulator, the eSafety commissioner, a two-day injunction requiring the social media platform to hide some posts on a knife attack last week against an Assyrian church bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, during a service at his church.

Albanese on Tuesday hit out at Musk, calling him an "arrogant billionaire" for pushing back against the Australian government's calls to take down the content.

Violent content on X

X had blocked the content for its users in Australia but said it would not block the posts for users outside the country, arguing that the government had no authority to dictate content its users can see globally.

Videos of the attack posted online showed the attacker, restrained by the congregation, shouting at the bishop. Police have charged a 16-year-old with a terrorism offence over the attack.

The regulator had asked X to remove certain posts that publicly commented on the attack, which could include videos.

Albanese said social media must have social responsibility but Musk was fighting to keep violent content on his platform.

'Censorship and propaganda'

"We'll do what's necessary to take on this arrogant billionaire who thinks he's above the law, but also above common decency," Albanese told national broadcaster ABC on Tuesday.

"What the eSafety Commissioner is doing, is doing her job to protect the interests of Australians."

Musk had earlier called the eSafety commissioner the "Australian censorship commissar", drawing rebuke from Albanese who described X's fight against removing violent content as "extraordinary".

"I'd like to take a moment to thank the PM for informing the public that this platform is the only truthful one," Musk said in a post on X hours before Albanese's comments on Tuesday.

Musk posted an image that appeared to show X stood for "free speech and truth" while other social media platforms were dictated by "censorship and propaganda."


Source: TRT