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eSafety Commissioner drops case against X over stabbing video

The Australian eSafety Commissioner has withdrawn its investigation into Musk’s social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), concerning a video that depicted the stabbing of a bishop. This decision comes amid mounting scrutiny over the regulation of online content and the responsibilities of social media platforms in moderating harmful material.

The controversial video, showing the stabbing of a bishop in Sydney, sparked widespread outrage and concern about the dissemination of violent content online. Initially, the eSafety Commission intervened, demanding that X remove the video and provide information on how such content was allowed to circulate.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant highlighted the incident as a critical example of the challenges faced in ensuring online safety. She noted that while the initial response was to address the immediate harm caused by the video’s spread, a more comprehensive approach to content moderation and platform accountability is necessary.

The Commissioner’s decision to drop the case was influenced by X’s compliance with the takedown request and its cooperation in providing the necessary information. The eSafety Commission is already engaged in six separate cases against X in Australian courts so pushing this case further was not prudent after the video had already been geo-block in Australia, according to the Commissioner.

Despite the closure of this particular case, X and Elon Musk viewed it as a win for free speech and anti-censorship. The incident underscores the ongoing tension between regulatory bodies and social media companies, particularly relating to censorship and free speech online.

The decision to issue the removal notices will now be examined by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

For a full reading of the media release, see here.

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