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Elon Musk Has Been Naughty Again On Twitter

Crime / 19 Comments

The Feds want to hold him in contempt of court.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in trouble again for new statements made on Twitter. According to Reuters and Bloomberg, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wants a federal court to hold Musk in contempt for violating last year's settlement with the agency. Last August, Musk wrote a tweet claiming he planned to take the company private, an act the SEC deemed as a violation of financial laws. As part of the settlement, Musk had to step down as Tesla chairman and any content written by Musk had to be vetted by the company prior to publication.

But on February 19, Musk wrote the following tweet to his 25 million followers: "Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019."

This is inaccurate because Tesla indicated in its SEC filings that it can only produce about 400,000 cars annually. The SEC claims Musk did not seek or receive pre-approval. "He once again published inaccurate and material information about Tesla to his over 24 million Twitter followers, including members of the press, and made this inaccurate information available to anyone with Internet access," the SEC said in court papers. "Musk has thus violated the Court's Final Judgement by engaging in the very conduct that the pre-approval provision of the Final Judgement was designed to prevent."

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The motion asks the judge to issue an order to force Musk to prove why he should be held in contempt. Tesla's lawyers immediately knew Musk's tweet was a problem and four hours after the original post, Musk wrote a new tweet correcting himself. "Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be around 400k."

Based on the SEC's actions, Musk's correction statement isn't good enough. How this will be resolved is anybody's guess at the moment.