Bondi attack: Anthony Albanese slams social media as a 'scourge' after graphic images, misinformation shared

Tess Ikonomou
AAP
2 Min Read
Anthony Albanese has hit out at graphic images from Bondi attack being published on social media.
Anthony Albanese has hit out at graphic images from Bondi attack being published on social media. Credit: Con Chrosnis/AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has lashed social media as a “scourge” following the circulation of graphic images and videos from Bondi Junction’s stabbing attack.

Joel Cauchi, 40, stabbed six people to death and seriously wounded 12 others in a violent rampage at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.

He was shot dead by a police inspector.

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Photos of his dead body with the policewoman who shot him were shared on social media, as were videos of victims in the shopping centre.

Asked about the distressing material being widely shared, Mr Albanese said it was difficult to control, as everyone was now a publisher due to social media.

“It is a scourge in many ways, social media,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“The lack of responsibility, it must be said, as well of some of the social media operators that we know about allowing content to be circulated which is clearly misinformation.”

Mr Albanese said the government has been criticised for proposing legislation that would increase power to regulate social media.

“The police were very clear, if people had videos and photos, they should be forwarded to the police, not posted on X or Facebook,” he said.

Following the stabbings, social media users globally were making Islamophobic and anti-Semitic claims about the motives of the attacker.

A news organisation wrongly named on air a Sydney university student as the murderer, with a number of sites and social media accounts republishing the error.

The student has a common Jewish surname.

Mr Albanese said traditional media outlets also had a responsibility, after the inaccurate information was broadcast.

On Sunday, NSW Premier Chris Minns warned parents to monitor their children’s social media use as graphic footage circulates of the mass stabbing at Westfield in Bondi Junction on platforms including TikTok.

Horrifying vision of assailant Joel Cauchi wielding a knife inside the shopping complex as well as footage of bloody and injured shoppers is widely circulating on platforms including TikTok.

Mr Minns said parents needed to be vigilant and use “absolute discretion” and said footage of the crime scene would be “incredibly confronting”.

“For parents right now, it’s particularly important to be vigilant about what your kids are consuming on social media because there is unfiltered, unedited, graphic imagery on social media at the moment,” he said.

“Once you see it, it’s not possible to erase from your memory.”

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