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

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that X – formerly known as Twitter – has to answer to the state’s laws despite being based in America.

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network alleged that Elon Musk’s X should be responsible for posts on its site vilifying Muslims because it is a publisher.

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

The Australian Muslim rights group behind the complaint is hailing the ruling as “precedent-setting”, saying it ensures social media companies must be held accountable for locally accessible content that breaches hate speech laws.

It stems from a complaint made by the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, alleging Musk’s X should be responsible for posts on its site vilifying Muslims because it is a publisher.

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

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

“X Corp is present in Queensland because it provides a service in Queensland and in my view carries on business in Queensland,” her ruling read.

“Second, the impugned conduct took place in Queensland whether one terms the impugned conduct an ‘effect’ or actual conduct.”

Australian Muslim Advocacy Network’s complaint included 29 tweets it said “denigrates, dehumanises, and demonises Muslims, portraying them as an existential threat”.

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