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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Elon Musk deploys Starlink Internet, refused to block Russian media

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Bianca Oppedisano
Elon Musk smiling against a geometric background. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

Just as the world successfully fought against COVID-19 and the pandemic era was slowly coming to an end, Russia decided to launch an all-out invasion on Ukraine and the world is at the brink of war.
Ukraine, at the epicenter of world news today, had its Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who is also Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, reach out to Elon Musk on Twitter with a tactical request that SpaceX activates its wireless satellite operated Starlink Broadband service to help keep the communication grids which have been disrupted due to the on-going war. Even though it seems informal to request something of this magnitude through a tweet, the Vice PM had his response within a couple of hours from Elon Musk himself on Twitter stating: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.” This was astonishing with the sheer speed at which it was possible to implement a service for an entire country. But there are repercussions to this implementation of Starlink terminals, as cybersecurity experts say that using satellite services is extremely hazardous during the time of war and these signals emitted by these satellites can be potentially used to geolocate the users connected to the terminal. A very crucial fact is that Starlink is the only non-Russian communications platform still operational in parts of Ukraine and will be highly targeted.
Another twist to the tale is that Elon Musk refused to block Russian media after the request of other governments, not Ukraine. Musk stated: “Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.” This implies that free speech prevails even during times of war in the eyes of some. Although, Several Tech companies in the United States have dropped media outlets affiliated with the Kremlin. Several restrictions from posting to Russian related platforms have been restricted on many platforms such as Reddit, YouTube, Microsoft, Meta, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify and other tech giants. The petition by these governments to block Russian media can be justified as these news sources are actively spreading potentially harmful information which can cause the spreading of false rumors within Ukraine.
The situation is escalating rapidly. A world war is something we did not expect to see in this lifetime, but it is here, and the repercussions of this war will be massive. Commodities will be depleted, lives will be lost, prices will soar, and poverty will increase; unfortunately, this could be just the beginning.
I would like to make a small dedication to a fellow classmate in my master’s program who is from the Nation of Ukraine who has left the program at UMass Boston and his family here in the United States to serve in the Ukrainian army due to his parents being unable to leave Ukraine under the circumstances. People are making the hardest decisions due to the impact of this war and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. Safety and freedom are rights we are all born with and deserve to keep at all costs. The world stands by you all. United, we will come out standing tall.

About the Contributors
Preetan Natesh, News Writer
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator