Australian PM calls Elon Musk ‘arrogant billionaire who thinks he is above law’

Australian PM calls Elon Musk ‘arrogant billionaire who thinks he is above law’

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese called X owner Elon Musk “an arrogant billionaire who thinks he is above the law” as tensions between the country and the social media platform deepened over the removal of a violent video.

Mr Musk lashed out at the Australian PM after an overnight court ruling in the country ordered X to take down footage of a violent stabbing in a Sydney church – a move the Tesla and SpaceX chief called censorship.

In the ruling, Australia’s federal court ordered X – formerly Twitter – to temporarily hide videos of a week-old incident in which a teenager was charged with terrorism for knifing an Assyrian priest and others.

While X said it blocked the posts for the platform’s Australian users, Australia’s e-Safety Commissioner called for the videos to be taken down for all users of X since they showed explicit violence.

“Social media companies need to do the right thing ... We are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to haul these companies into line,” the Australian prime minister said.

Mr Musk then posted a meme on the platform showing that X stood for “free speech and truth” while others represented “censorship and propaganda”.

“Don’t take my word for it, just ask the Australian PM!” he said.

“I’d like to take a moment to thank the PM for informing the public that this platform is the only truthful one,” the Tesla boss added.

In another post, Mr Musk said the company’s “concern is that if any country is allowed to censor content for all countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?”

“We have already censored the content in question for Australia, pending legal appeal, and it is stored only on servers in the USA,” he said.

But the e-Safety Commissioner argued that these posts were still available outside Australia as well as to Australian users accessing X via a virtual private network (VPN).

Taking a jibe at Mr Musk, the Australian prime minister responded that the country would “do what’s necessary to take on this arrogant billionaire who thinks he’s above the law, but also above common decency”.

”The idea that someone would go to court for the right to put up violent content on a platform shows how out-of-touch Mr Musk is,” Mr Albanese told ABC News.