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Tipsheet

'Sorry to Be a Free Speech Absolutist': Elon Musk Will Not Censor Russian State Media in Ukraine

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

Tesla Motors CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Saturday morning that SpaceX will not block Russian state media on its Starlink internet satellites "unless at gunpoint," arguing that it is a matter of freedom of speech.

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This comes as Western governments attempt to stifle disinformation coming out of Moscow about Russia's war with Ukraine.

Last weekend, Musk used Starlink's satellites to ensure Ukraine would still have internet communication as Russia tried to cut off the besieged country from the internet.

Musk explained in a Saturday morning tweet that he would not muzzle Russian state media despite requests by some governments around the globe. He specified that Ukraine had not made such a request.

And when one Twitter user commented that Russian state media sources are sources of propaganda, Musk explained that all news sources are "partially propaganda, some more than others."

The billionaire's commitment to free speech differs from the stance of several social media companies that are removing pro-Russia misinformation accounts from their platforms. 

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Russia's tech and communications regulator has shut down Russian access to Twitter and Facebook and forced Western media outlets out of the country, threatening prison for reporters who spread what it deems "fake" information. CNN and CBS News are among the outlets to say they would pause their reporting inside Russia while they evaluate the situation in the country.

Musk also said in a Thursday post that Starlink could be subject to Russian cyberattacks.

"Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution," he said in a tweet.

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