Australia: Social network X wins legal victory in Australia

Australia: Social network X wins legal victory in Australia
Australia: Social network X wins legal victory in Australia

Federal Court of Australia Judge Geoffrey Kennett has rejected Australia’s watchdog’s request to extend a temporary ban on the publication of videos showing a mid-April stabbing attack at a Sydney church, pending of further legal action.

“The Court has entered an order denying the request for an extension of the interlocutory injunction,” Geoffrey Kennett said without providing details on the reasons for his decision.

The Australian regulator in charge of internet safety, eSafety, had asked X, formerly Twitter, to remove videos in Australia and the rest of the world showing a cleric being stabbed several times during a sermon broadcast live mi -april.

Arguing that the social network had ignored its requests, the regulator obtained an injunction from the Australian federal justice system to block these videos within 24 hours. But on Monday, Judge Geoffrey Kennett ruled that there was no need to extend the interim injunction.

So far, X has only agreed to make the content in question inaccessible to Australian users, but the videos were still available to those using a virtual private network (VPN) or other location-masking service. This decision by the Australian courts could allow X to avoid certain fines.

The bishop of an Assyrian church, Mar Mari Emmanuel, was stabbed in the head and chest in mid-April by a 16-year-old teenager. After the attack, a riot broke out outside the western Sydney church where the incident took place, with hundreds of worshipers and community members expressing their anger.

Australian authorities fear that the video of the attack, widely shared on social networks, could fuel tensions between religious communities.

Since the Online Safety Act passed in 2021, Australia has been at the forefront of efforts to call for tech giants to be held accountable for what their users post online.

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