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Media statement: update on removal of extreme violent content

eSafety 2 mins read

23 April, 2024

Please attribute to a spokesperson for the eSafety Commissioner:

Yesterday the Federal Court granted an interim injunction compelling X Corp to hide Class 1 material on X that was the subject of eSafety’s removal notice of 16 April, 2024.

In summary, eSafety’s removal notice to X Corp required it to take all reasonable steps to ensure the removal of the extreme violent video content of the alleged terrorist act at Wakeley in Sydney on 15 April. The removal notice identified specific URLs where the material was located.

X Corp has 24 hours to comply with the Court’s interim order, beginning from the time the court issued the interim injunction order on Monday evening.

eSafety expects a further hearing to take place in the coming days during which the Court will be asked to decide whether it will extend the interim injunction.

It is expected this second hearing will be followed by a final hearing at which eSafety will seek a permanent injunction and civil penalties against X Corp. The date of the final hearing will be determined by the Court.

To be clear, eSafety’s removal notice does not relate to commentary, public debate or other posts about this event, even those which may link to extreme violent content. It only concerns the video of the violent stabbing attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.

Following the events of 15 April, eSafety worked cooperatively with other companies, including, Google, Microsoft, Snap and Tik Tok, to remove the material.

Some of these companies have taken additional, proactive steps to reduce further spread of the material. We thank them for those efforts.

While it may be difficult to eradicate damaging content from the internet entirely, particularly as users continue to repost it, eSafety requires platforms to do everything practical and reasonable to minimise the harm it may cause to Australians and the Australian community.

Last Tuesday, April 16, eSafety issued Class 1 removal notices to Meta and X Corp, formally seeking removal of this material from their platforms. In the case of Meta, eSafety was satisfied with its compliance because Meta quickly removed the material identified in the notice.

In the case of X Corp, eSafety was not satisfied the actions it took constituted compliance with the removal notice and sought an interim injunction from the Federal Court.

eSafety will continue using its suite of powers under the Online Safety Act to protect Australians from serious online harms, including extreme violent content.

Further information about eSafety’s powers in relation to the Online Content Scheme, including enforcement action, is available here: Online Content Scheme Regulatory Guidance.pdf (esafety.gov.au). Under the Online Safety Act, the maximum civil penalty for non-compliance with a removal notice for a body corporate is $782,500 per contravention.

Federal Court judgements, hearing details and information about accessing Court documents are available from the Court: Federal Court of Australia (fedcourt.gov.au)

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