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Elon Musk’s X Corp claims alleged terror content does not pose serious risk of harm

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
Elon Musk’s X Corp is arguing alleged terror content online does not pose a serious risk of harm and removing dozens of links to videos would violate freedoms of expression and political communication.
Elon Musk’s X Corp is arguing alleged terror content online does not pose a serious risk of harm and removing dozens of links to videos would violate freedoms of expression and political communication. Credit: AP

Elon Musk’s X Corp is arguing leaving alleged terror content online does not pose a serious risk of harm and removing dozens of links to videos would violate freedoms of expression and political communication.

The social media giant has also claimed that the eSafety Commissioner was wrong to classify vision of the alleged attack at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church as class 1 material under the national code that determines the classification of films and video games.

Lawyers for X Corp, formerly known as Twitter, are continuing their fight against a take down order issued by the E-Safety Commissioner last month and had sought a stay in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal alongside similar actions in the Federal Court.

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Documents filed with the AAT reveal X-Corp believe geoblocking vision of the alleged stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was sufficient and the removal notice is invalid.

Lawyers for X Corp said the only further measure available to the social media giant was permanently deleting the content from the company server’s in the US, blocking access to everyone in the world.

“Any residual risk of harm to Australians after the application of the Applicant’s existing geo-blocking measures is speculative and/or limited and is significantly outweighed by the suppression of freedom of expression, freedom of political communications and communication about matters in the public interest,” said a request for a stay filed on May 9.

“The content of the material is such that it would not be concluded its dissemination poses a serious risk of harm.”

X Corp lawyers also argue that the content remained available on a number of other platforms and websites and that “considerations of international comity and deference to the sovereignty of other nations strongly support the grant of a stay as a matter of public interest.”

The eSafety Commission issued a removal notice to X Corp on April 16 after receiving three complaints about violent content and one complaint about violent extremist content on the platform X.

Initially the commission informally asked X Corp to remove the footage by lodging a request on the website’s reporting portal but received no response.

The Federal Court on May 14 granted Musk a win when Justice Geoffrey Kennett refused to extend an emergency global take-down order of the alleged stabbing at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church on April 15.

Police at Christ The Good Shepherd Church at Wakeley in Sydney
Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was attacked at Forensic Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley during a live-streamed sermon. Credit: Bianca De Marchi/AAP

According to the removal notice, the videos of the alleged stabbing would likely be refused classification as the material depicted “matters of crime, cruelty and real violence in such a way that it offends against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.”

Under the relevant legislation, classification will be refused for publications, films or computer games that advocate terrorist acts by indirectly counselling, promoting, urging, providing instruction or praising terrorism.

“A publication, film or computer game does not advocate the doing of a terrorist act if it depicts or describes a terrorist act, but the depiction or description could reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate or as entertainment or satire,” says the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.

Lawyers for x Corp have counted this by accusing the eSafety Commission of failing to consider all relevant classification codes relevant when determining that the videos would be refused classification in Australia.

The matter of X Corp and the eSafety Commissioner remains on foot before the AAT while the date of the next hearing has yet to be set, an AAT spokesperson said.

The Nightly approached the office of the eSafety Commissioner and lawyers acting for X Corp.

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