Snopes fact-checks itself after linking Elon Musk’s Starlink to Titanic sub incident

Elon Musk has broken his silence on reports linking the missing Titan submersible to SpaceX’s Starlink internet by taking issue with fact-checking site

An article posted by the site addressing reports that Starlink provided communications for the missing expedition to the Titanic was updated after publication with a note clarifying the submersible itself was not using the technology.

OceanGate, the company behind the expedition, however, said on Twitter it had been using the satellite-internet service. Weeks before the dive, the company tweeted that SpaceX’s Starlink was being used for dive operations.

Popular fact-checking website Snopes ended up fact-checking itself several times following the publication of a post that claimed that a missing submersible craft used to explore the wreck of the Titanic was using Starlink to communicate. Prior to its edits, Snopes’ initial posts received corrections from Twitter’s users through the platform’s Community Notes feature. 

OceanGate’s Titan submersible, designed for taking paying customers to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, is currently missing. During its most recent trip, communication with the craft was abruptly cut off, sparking an urgent search for its whereabouts.

The vessel’s disappearance has caused great concern, as efforts are being intensified to locate and recover the submersible. The fate of those on board and the mission to uncover the secrets of the Titanic now hang in the balance as the search operation continues with a sense of urgency and anxiety.

In the midst of the search for the missing Titan submersible, critics of Elon Musk seized the opportunity to draw attention to the involvement of OceanGate Expeditions, the company behind the submersible, with Starlink satellite internet.

These critics pointed out that Starlink’s official Twitter account confirmed the use of their satellite internet service by OceanGate. The mention of Starlink’s involvement sparked a discussion about the reliability and effectiveness of the satellite internet technology being utilized in the search and recovery efforts for the missing submersible.

It is important to clarify that the connection between Starlink and the missing Titan submersible does not hold as a point of criticism against Elon Musk.

While it is true that OceanGate Expeditions utilizes Starlink satellite internet, it is important to note that the satellite internet system is used on the surface vessel, not the submersible. This is due to the limitation that Starlink’s Wi-Fi signals do not work underwater.

Instead, communication between the submersible and the surface vessel is established through an “acoustic link” system. Therefore, the concerns raised about the use of satellite internet in the context of the missing submersible are unfounded and do not contribute to the anti-Musk narrative.

The initial post by Snopes, titled “Was the Missing Titanic Submersible Using Satellites from Elon Musk’s Company?” and rated as “True,” seems to have overlooked the crucial context.

However, in the face of criticism and corrections on Twitter, Snopes later edited the post and changed the claim’s rating to “Unproven.” It should be noted that the widespread understanding is that Starlink, being a satellite internet system, cannot be used by a submersible craft underwater.

Therefore, the revised “Unproven” rating was still deemed inadequate by social media users who believed that the knowledge available should have made it clear that Starlink would not be used in underwater communication scenarios.

It appears that Snopes further fact-checked its own article and ultimately labeled the claim as “False.” Additionally, the title of the post was modified to “Was the Missing Titanic Submersible Relying on Satellites from Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Communicate?” This revision acknowledges the incorrectness of the initial claim and provides a more accurate representation of the situation. It is essential to verify and correct information promptly to maintain factual accuracy and prevent any misconceptions or misunderstandings.

Elon Musk has taken notice of Snopes’ post regarding Starlink’s supposed connection to the missing OceanGate submersible and expressed criticism of the publication. Musk’s response on Twitter pointed out that Snopes “can’t even run a good psy op.”

Despite the updates made by Snopes to rectify the initial claim, the narrative suggesting a link between Starlink and the submersible’s disappearance continued to circulate on social media.

This demonstrates that the corrections made by Snopes did little to counteract the ongoing belief in the alleged connection, as it still persisted among posts from various influential social media accounts.

The company, OceanGate, expressed gratitude to Starlink on Twitter, stating, “Despite being in the middle of the North Atlantic, we have the internet connection we need to make our #Titanic dive operations a success – thank you @Starlink!” This tweet suggests that OceanGate was appreciative of the internet connection provided by Starlink during their dive operations related to the Titanic.

It should be noted that this tweet specifically refers to the internet connection for surface operations and does not imply the use of Starlink for underwater communication with the submersible.

The article was also slapped with a community note adding that Starlink could not be used to communicate with an underwater submarine.

In response to the article, Musk tweeted: “You can’t even run a good psy op.”

A popular Twitter account called “Occupy Democrats” posted a message suggesting that an investigation should be launched regarding the incident with the missing Titan submersible and Starlink’s potential involvement.

The post acknowledges that there is no direct indication of Starlink’s failure or responsibility for the incident. However, it also makes reference to Elon Musk’s perceived history of mistakes and dishonesty.

It’s worth noting that the post has since been corrected by the platform’s Community Notes feature, which indicates that the content contained errors or misinformation.

The search operation continues for the missing submersible, which disappeared on Sunday while carrying five individuals. The incident occurred approximately two hours into the submersible’s descent towards the Titanic shipwreck when communication with the surface vessel was lost.

Efforts are ongoing to locate and recover the submersible, as well as to ensure the safety and well-being of those on board. The situation remains a matter of concern and urgency as search teams work diligently to resolve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the submersible.

Search teams are still trying to recover the craft. However, the US Coast Guard has estimated it would run out of breathable air by Thursday afternoon ET.

According to the Snopes article, it was reported that OceanGate had stated they were using Elon Musk’s product for Titanic dive operations. However, it was clarified that the submersible itself was not using the technology provided by Musk’s product for communication purposes.

This distinction is important to understand, as it confirms that while OceanGate may have utilized Musk’s product in some capacity for their dive operations, it was not directly involved in the communication system of the submersible itself.

It is unclear what exact details the billionaire’s tweet was referring to or how exactly Starlink’s technology was used by OceanGate.

Representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside normal working hours.

Information Source: businessinsider, Teslarati

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