The former CEO criticizes Australia’s ‘excessive intervention’ following clash with regulator.

Linda Yaccarino, Chief Executive Officer of X, speaking at the VivaTech conference in Paris, France. 

Benjamin Girette | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In Paris, X CEO Linda Yaccarino criticized Australia on Friday following a showdown with online safety regulators.

The Elon Musk-owned social media platform X secured a legal victory in Australia last week when a court declined to prolong a temporary order blocking videos of a stabbing incident at a Sydney church.

During a live sermon, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed, and the video of the incident circulated widely online, garnering hundreds of thousands of views. In response, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, the online watchdog of the nation, obtained a temporary legal injunction instructing X to conceal posts containing footage of the attack.

While speaking on stage at the VivaTech conference in Paris, Yaccarino accused Australia of exercising excessive power in the disagreement.

“Even though X operates in compliance with regulations, we do not hesitate to address instances of clear overreach, particularly when the safety or access to information of residents is jeopardized,” she expressed.

“In a recent scenario in Australia, X had to take a stand to safeguard people’s access to information so they could form their own opinions,” she added.

On May 13, a federal court judge rejected a request by the eSafety Commissioner to extend an injunction to remove posts on X depicting the violent assault of a priest in April.

“The positive outcome is that the public triumphed,” Yaccarino, the former chief of global advertising at NBCUniversal, remarked on stage. “We are pleased to be a guiding light and a source of truth.”

This incident triggered a conflict between Musk and the Australian government. Musk criticized the action as an attack on freedom of speech.

When reached out for a comment on Friday, Australia’s eSafety regulator did not respond immediately.

During an interview on April 23, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that Musk believes “he is above Australian law” and rebuked him for his “egotism.”

In a rebuttal, Musk tweeted on X: “I do not believe I’m beyond the law. Does the Prime Minister think he should have authority over the entire Earth?”

The eSafety Commissioner previously indicated that ensuring online safety “entails platforms taking all practical and reasonable steps to reduce potential harm to Australians.”

— Contribution to this article by good’s Sumathi Bala.

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