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Elon Musk is waging war on multiple fronts and now Australia is in the firing line

Beatrice Nolan   

Elon Musk is waging war on multiple fronts — and now Australia is in the firing line
  • Elon Musk is clashing with multiple governments around the world.
  • His ownership of X/Twitter has pulled him into a new sphere of global politics.

Elon Musk is well known for his public spats.

The world's fourth-richest person rarely shies away from face-offs with other prominent figures but, increasingly, he appears to be drawing the ire of national governments too.

That's largely due to his ownership of Twitter, which thrust him into a new sphere of global politics.

In the past year, he's been engaged in several public fights with government representatives over issues including free speech, Starlink sales, and X's content moderation.

Australian demands

Musk has been criticized by the Australian government for ignoring demands to take down certain posts.

Videos and posts commenting on the stabbing of Sydney-based bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel have been circulating on X, which the Australian government seemingly wanted taken down.

X's global government affairs account claimed to have received a "demand" from Australia's eSafety commissioner to withhold certain posts or face a "daily fine of $785,000 AUD."

Musk said on Friday: "The Australian censorship commissar is demanding global content bans."

Tanya Plibersek, Australia's environment minister, hit out at the X owner, calling him an "egotistical billionaire."

Australia's Federal Court has now ordered X to hide posts with videos of the stabbing incident, Reuters reported.

Musk said on X the content had been "censored" for Australia, "pending legal appeal, and it is stored only on servers in the USA."

He added: "Our concern is that if ANY country is allowed to censor content for ALL countries, which is what the Australian 'eSafety Commissar' is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?"

Last October, Australia's eSafety Commission fined X almost $400,000 for not fully outlining its methods for dealing with child sexual exploitation content, outlets including BBC News reported.

Brazilian backlash

Musk has been clashing with a judge on Brazil's supreme court, Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

The issues began after de Moraes asked Musk to block certain X accounts in Brazil the country amid an investigation into "digital militias" that he alleged were spreading fake news and threats against Brazil's supreme court.

Musk said X would not comply with the request, and later alleged de Moraes was betraying the Brazilian constitution, claiming he should resign or be impeached.

De Moraes has since opened a separate investigation into Musk.

Starlink, Russia, and Ukraine

Musk's SpaceX has been dealing with an ongoing saga over Russia's supposed use of Starlink terminals during the war with Ukraine.

Prominent figures in Russia have lashed out at Musk over the claims.

Last year, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized the SpaceX founder over a report Musk had ordered his engineers to block Starlink satellites over Crimea.

Musk has denied the claim and repeatedly denied selling Starlink terminals to Russia.

Several Ukrainian MPs also criticized the billionaire after he posted a meme taunting Zelenskyy's calls for more aid.

Ireland and hate speech

In Ireland, Musk has pledged to fund legal challenges that oppose the country's upcoming hate speech legislation.

He told the Irish outlet Gript that X would "make sure that if there is an attempt to suppress the voice of the Irish people that we do our absolute best to defend the people of Ireland and their ability to speak their mind."

Musk was referring to Ireland's forthcoming Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, which other public figures, including Donald Trump Jr, have criticized.

X's European headquarters is in Dublin.

Representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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