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X and Meta issued takedown notices over Wakeley church stabbing content

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has given two top social platforms 24 hours to remove videos related to a knife attack on an Orthodox Christian bishop in Sydney overnight.

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 16 Apr 2024
X and Meta issued takedown notices over Wakeley church stabbing content
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The Australian eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has issued notices to social media giants Meta and X to take down “extreme and gratuitous violent material” regarding a violent incident that occurred at a Sydney church overnight.

Speaking to reporters today (16 April), Inman Grant said the companies have 24 hours to remove the material or be issued with a fine.

“While the majority of mainstream social media platforms have engaged with us, I am not satisfied enough is being done to protect Australians from this most extreme and gratuitous violent material circulating online,” Inman Grant said during a press conference.


“That is why I am exercising my powers under the Online Safety Act to formally compel them to remove it. I have issued a notice to X requiring them to remove this content. A legal notice will also be sent to Meta this afternoon, and further notices are likely to follow. I will not hesitate to use further graduated powers at my disposal if there is non-compliance.”

The takedown notices refer to video content circulating on both platforms regarding the stabbing attack of Orthodox Christian leader Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley overnight. Emmanuel was stabbed during a Monday (15 April) evening Mass service. The alleged 16-year-old perpetrator has not yet been named.

Inman Grant said the video content – the service had been live-streamed at the time of the attack – was being considered as class 1. According to the eSafety website, class 1 material is that which “depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified”.

Content that “promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime or violence” is also considered class 1.

Just last month, the eSafety Commissioner issued a series of legal notices to Meta and X, as well as Google, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Reddit, asking each company to outline their processes for flagging and dealing with “terrorist and violent extremist material and activity”.

“We remain concerned about how extremists weaponise technology like live-streaming, algorithms and recommender systems and other features to promote or share this hugely harmful material,” Inman Grant said at the time.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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