Video takedown fight with Musk's X lands in court

An Australian court has ordered billionaire Elon Musk's social media platform to block every user from seeing violent footage related to a Sydney church stabbing, not just block it for Australian audiences.

Amid political unity against X Corp's defiant stance to keep potentially harmful content online, the nation's internet cop launched the matter in the Federal Court on Monday evening.

During a hastily arranged hearing, a barrister for the eSafety Commissioner said the "graphic and violent" video remained online on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It would cause "irreparable harm" if it continued to circulate, lawyer Christopher Tran said.

The commissioner had ordered the removal of the footage but X's response was to block the video to Australian IP addresses, the court was told.

That left it accessible to international users or Australians using an overseas-based virtual private network.

"That was a choice, they could have done more," Christopher Tran said.

At the least, X should shield the footage from all users, not just Australians, he submitted.

Anticipating an argument about the United States' right to free speech, Mr Tran said it appeared that right did not extend to depictions of violence.

Mr Musk had branded the eSafety commissioner the "Australian censorship commissar" while his company raised free speech and jurisdictional concerns over the takedown order.

X also branded the internet cop's move an "unlawful and dangerous approach".

Marcus Hoyne, appearing for X Corp, urged the court to postpone the matter until he could seek "sensible and proper instructions" from his San Francisco-based client.

The eSafety commissioner's court application was served at the last possible moment, he said.

Granting the order would affect international users "in circumstances where it has no impact on Australia," he said.

His appeal however failed.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett granted the interim order sought, suppressing the footage to all users on X until at least Wednesday afternoon.

The case will return to court on Wednesday for an argument about a permanent suppression.

Earlier, politicians offered free character assessments of Mr Musk as the federal government and opposition united behind efforts for graphic content to be taken down from X.

Tanya Plibersek called him an "egotistical billionaire", Sarah Hanson-Young dubbed him a "narcissistic cowboy" while Simon Birmingham attacked X's "ridiculous and preposterous argument" that removing imagery of a terrorist attack should be left online.