6 June 2024

eSafety drops Federal Court action against X, Commissioner claims deaths threats made

| Chris Johnson
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eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has dropped the Federal Court action against X Corp . Photo: eSafety.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant says she and her family have been subjected to personal abuse and online threats over her decision to take legal action against Elon Musk’s X social media platform.

The internet watchdog has dropped its Federal Court action against X Corp over its refusal to remove from its international platform graphic footage of a Sydney church stabbing.

But in a sadistic irony, the person whose task it is to help protect Australians from online attacks has herself become the target of such abuse.

“Today I have decided to consolidate action concerning my Class 1 removal notice to X Corp in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal,” Ms Inman Grant said in a statement on Wednesday (5 June).

“After weighing multiple considerations, including litigation across multiple cases, I have considered this option likely to achieve the most positive outcome for the online safety of all Australians, especially children.

“As a result, I have decided to discontinue the proceedings in the Federal Court against X Corp in relation to the matter of extreme violent material depicting the real-life graphic stabbing of a religious leader at Wakeley in Sydney on 15 April 2024.

“Our sole goal and focus in issuing our removal notice was to prevent this extremely violent footage from going viral, potentially inciting further violence and inflicting more harm on the Australian community. I stand by my investigators and the decisions eSafety made.

“Most Australians accept this kind of graphic material should not be on broadcast television, which begs an obvious question of why it should be allowed to be distributed freely and accessible online 24/7 to anyone, including children.

“Indeed, a key issue of concern for me throughout this process was the ease by which children were able to access this extremely violent stabbing video on X.”

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In a subsequent television interview, the Commissioner said her children had become a target because of the legal action she was taking.

She said while other social media platforms had complied with the request to remove footage of the stabbing, Musk initiated a “pile on” from X’s followers that exposed personal information about her children being put online.

“He issued a dog whistle to 181 million users around the globe, which resulted in death threats directed at me, which resulted in doxxing of my family members, including my three children,” Ms Inman Grant told ABC.

“I think with great power comes great responsibility. Targeting a regulator who is here to protect the citizens of Australia is really beyond the pale, but it’s not surprising.”

Doxxing is the act of publicly providing personally identifiable information about an individual (or organisation) via the Internet without their consent and often with malicious intent.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland made a statement in parliament backing the Commissioner’s decision to drop the legal action and condemning the threats against her.

“The government backs our regulators, and we back the e-Safety Commissioner, particularly in light of the possible threats to her physical safety and the threats to her family in the course of doing her job,” the Minister said.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also rose in the chamber to condemn the online abuse.

Describing Ms Inman Grant as “one of the finest public servants”, Mr Dutton urged an investigation into the abuse.

“The treatment and personal abuse and attacks that she has been subject to, threats and intimidation, should be absolutely condemned,” he said.

“I hope the AFP, as I’m sure they will, will continue to pursue those people who have made these outrageous attacks on her.”

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The Global Government Affairs team from X issued an online statement celebrating the case being dropped by eSafety.

“We welcome the news that the eSafety Commissioner is no longer pursuing legal action against X seeking the global removal of content that does not violate X’s rules,” X’s statement said.

“This case has raised important questions on how legal powers can be used to threaten global censorship of speech, and we are heartened to see that freedom of speech has prevailed.”

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Targeted poltical censorship shouldn’t be tolerated. The greater evil was defeated.

Did she take any action against the alleged threats, or were exagerated to cover up the fact we can’t control the citizens of other countries and can’t do the basics on what the job requires?

Buck stops with Albo, leader of wild left

I am pleased the case was dropped. While I do not mind some censorship, I’m all about the right people doing the censoring, and today’s politicians, whether left or right, or just their unelected bureaucrats, do not fit the bill.

Heavens, anyone can still freely access footage of the death of George Floyd, what’s going on in Gaza, and many other things besides, and yet all of a sudden the church stabbing is too much, simply because it’s inconvenient to the narrative of harmonious multiculturalism.

This is proof positive that the would-be censors can’t be trusted with their powers and why they have to be stood up to in so far as it’s reasonable.

Death threats, of course, can’t be condoned, but lots of hissing and booing are a must if we’re to put these insincere ideologues, who care nothing for reality, back in their box.

I don’t believe she got any death threats.

I also can’t believe she thinks she can censor things for the whole world.

This is the issue with giving an activist this job. She is emtirely unsuitable.

@Ken M
“ I don’t believe she got any death threats.”
Fortunately another example of your opinion counting for nought. The AFP won’t be so dismissive of a real issue.

“ This is the issue with giving an activist this job. She is emtirely (sic) unsuitable.”
Again your irrelevance is on show. She has received bipartisan support from both sides of the house, including a very complimentary endorsement from the Leader of the Opposition.

“I love having some unelected weirdo tell me what I’m allowed to see on the internet. Please govern me harder, dear leaders!”


@Ken M
Nice unconnected deflection. Thank you for confirming the irrelevance of your comments to which I referred.

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