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X CEO Slams Australia Over Video Ban

X CEO Linda Yaccarino took a strong stand against Australia on Friday after clashing with online safety regulators
May 27, 2024

In a bold move, X CEO Linda Yaccarino took a firm stance against Australian online safety regulators during her speech at the VivaTech conference in Paris on Friday. The conflict centers around a controversial decision by Australia's eSafety Commissioner to temporarily block videos of a violent incident from being shared on the platform.

The incident in question involved the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a live-streamed sermon in Sydney, which quickly went viral. In response, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner secured a temporary legal injunction mandating X to remove posts featuring footage of the attack. However, last week, an Australian court denied the extension of this order, allowing the content to remain accessible on X.

Addressing the audience at VivaTech, Yaccarino criticized Australia's approach as excessive. “Where X operates to comply with the law, we are also not shy when we feel that there is a very obvious overreach, and where the citizens of that particular region are put at risk, or their access to information is compromised,” she asserted.

Yaccarino defended the platform’s decision to keep the footage accessible, emphasizing the importance of allowing people to access information freely and make their own judgments. “What was recently going on in Australia, there was a need for X to stand up and protect people to make sure they maintained access to that information so they could make up their own minds,” she explained.

The legal battle concluded on May 13, when a federal judge refused to extend the injunction to remove the violent posts from X. Celebrating this outcome, Yaccarino stated, “The good news is that the people prevailed. We’re happy to be that beacon of light and that place for truth.” 

This incident has sparked a broader clash between Elon Musk, the owner of X, and the Australian government. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Musk of arrogance, stating that Musk believes he is "above Australian law." Musk fired back on X, questioning if the Prime Minister thinks he should "have jurisdiction over all of Earth."

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has maintained that online platforms must take all practical and reasonable measures to minimize harm to users, highlighting the ongoing tension between regulatory efforts and the principles of free speech and information access.

Yaccarino's remarks at VivaTech underscore X's commitment to defending its users' right to information, even in the face of stringent regulatory challenges. This episode reflects the broader debate about the balance between online safety and freedom of expression in the digital age.

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