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AUSTRALIA sydney stabbing CHURCH reuters2.JPG
World News

X and Meta ordered to remove violent videos following Sydney church stabbing

by Heather Preston

Australia’s eSafety commissioner has issued a notice to social networking tech giants X and Meta calling for the removal of distressing and violent media on their platforms.

Julie Inman-Grant announced on Tuesday that X and Meta - the parent company to Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, had 24 hours to remove material that depicted “gratuitous or offensive violence with a high degree of impact or detail” or face potential fines.

It comes after a bishop, a priest and churchgoers were wounded in a knife attack during a live-streamed mass, on Monday.

A video online appears to show a man lunging at Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd Church, as he led a church service in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley.

Australian police are treating the knife-attack as an act of terrorism.

A recording of the livestream quickly circulated online and the incident drew hundreds of people to the Assyrian Orthodox Church, resulting in a clash with police who were guarding the alleged attacker within the church building.

Two officers were injured and ten police cars were destroyed. The church said in a statement on Tuesday it "denounced retaliation of any kind".

The incident took place just two days after six people were killed in an attack at a shopping centre near Bondi Beach.

Inman-Grant said she was formally compelling social media platforms to remove extreme and violent material under the Online Safety Act to prevent violent extremism going viral online.

Meta has said it is taking steps to remove copies of the harmful content.

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