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PM’s fury at social media ‘scourge’ as graphic images, video released from Bondi massacre

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has lashed social media as a “scourge” following the circulation of graphic images and videos from Bondi Junction’s stabbing attack.

Apr 15, 2024, updated Apr 15, 2024
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the media. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the media. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

 

Joel Cauchi, 40, stabbed six people to death and seriously wounded 12 others in a violent rampage at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.

He was shot dead by a police inspector.

Photos of his dead body with the policewoman who shot him were shared on social media, as were videos of victims in the shopping centre.

Asked about the distressing material being widely shared, Mr Albanese said it was difficult to control, as everyone was now a publisher due to social media.

“It is a scourge in many ways, social media,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“The lack of responsibility, it must be said, as well of some of the social media operators that we know about allowing content to be circulated which is clearly misinformation.”

Mr Albanese said the government has been criticised for proposing legislation that would increase power to regulate social media.

“The police were very clear, if people had videos and photos, they should be forwarded to the police, not posted on X or Facebook,” he said.

Following the stabbings, social media users globally were making Islamophobic and anti-Semitic claims about the motives of the attacker.

Channel 7 wrongly named on air a Sydney university student as the murderer, with a number of sites and social media accounts republishing the error.

The student has a common Jewish surname.

Mr Albanese said traditional media outlets also had a responsibility, after the inaccurate information was broadcast.

“How is it that a mainstream media organisation just put that up,” he said.

“There was other declarations early on by some mainstream media that there was a terrorist attack underway.”

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