Elon Musk loses anti-Muslim fight in Queensland hearing

Elon Musk loses anti-Muslim fight in Queensland hearing

Elon Musk suffered another legal defeat in Australia after his social media company X argued that it should not be subject to local anti-discrimination laws.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that X – formerly known as Twitter – had to respond to the state’s laws despite being based in the United States.

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network alleged that Elon Musk's X should be held responsible for posts on his site that defame Muslims because he is a publisher.

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network alleged that Elon Musk’s X should be held responsible for posts on his site that defame Muslims because he is a publisher.Credit: AP

The Australian Muslim rights group behind the complaint praised the ruling as “precedent-setting” and said it ensured social media companies were held accountable for locally accessible content that violated hate speech laws.

The ruling arose from a complaint brought by the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, which alleged that Musk’s X had to be held responsible for posts on his site that defamed Muslims because he was a publisher.

Queensland’s human rights commissioner referred the matter to the court last year, when X argued he was not a resident of the state and the conduct took place there.

But Ann Fitzpatrick, a senior member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, dismissed that argument in a ruling this week.

“X Corp is present in Queensland because it provides a service in Queensland and, in my opinion, carries on business in Queensland,” its ruling said.

“Secondly, the impugned conduct took place in Queensland, whether called an ‘effect’ or actual conduct.”

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network’s complaint included 29 tweets that it said “denigrate, dehumanize and demonize Muslims, portraying them as an existential threat.”