Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving” Beta Is Now Available



Teslarati reported that an increasing number of Tesla owners who purchased the Full Self-Driving suite for their vehicles have reported receiving access to FSD Beta. This was despite some of the owners claiming that their cars have garnered less than 100 Autopilot miles and that their Safety Score was less than 80.

According to Teslarati, some Tesla owners remarked that even vehicles that are not used much, or cars that have a safety score below 80, have received FSD Beta 10.69.3.1. This included a driver who regularly drives his race-spec Model 3 Performance on the track, and whose safety score is at a modest 62. A number of Tesla owners who bought FSD several years ago also reported receiving the update recently.

The Verge reported. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” Beta, which as been gradually rolling out over the past couple of years, is now available to anyone who’s paid for the feature in North America, CEO Elon Musk has announced.

Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you have bought this option. Congrats to Tesla Autopilot/AI team on achieving a major milestone!”

According to The Verge, the rollout of the beta software kicked off in 2020 with a small number of customers and has since gradually expanded to be available to around 160,000 drivers as of October this year. Getting access to the beta has typically required that drivers hit a minimum safety threshold with Tesla’s built-in Safety Score feature as well as logging 100 miles using the company’s advanced driver-assist feature Autopilot.

The Verge also reported that Tesla’s driver-assist technology, not to mention the company’s marketing of it, are facing heavy scrutiny from regulators. The US’s National Highway Traffic Administration is investigating incidents of Tesla vehicles crashing into stationary emergency vehicles while using Autopilot.

CNBC previously reported that the Department of Justice has launched an undisclosed probe of Tesla last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of false advertising in its promotion of the company’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies. The agency alleges the electric-car maker misled customers with advertising language on its website describing Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies as more capable than they actually are.

Engadget reported that Tesla first promised to launch full self-driving features in 2018, but they only finally appeared in July 2021 to a small number of “expert and careful drivers.” It was released more widely in the version 9.0 beta, but testers were limited to an early access program. On the last FSD release, Tesla dropped the requirement for at least 100 Autopilot miles and an 80 safety score, and now anyone who wants it can have it.

In my opinion, any company facing that many probes by governmental regulators should be extremely wary about what it chooses to do. It appears that Elon Musk is more interested in starting the beta test than he is concerned about consumer safety. That’s unfortunate, and could potentially result in legal problems.


Elon Musk Will Grant “Amnesty” To Banned Accounts Next Week



Elon Musk says Twitter will enact a general amnesty for suspended accounts next week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: The billionaire continued his ad hoc strategy of making policy by Twitter poll, asking users Wednesday, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” He did not specify which laws.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a majority (72 percent) of the 3.1 million users voted in favor of the amnesty for blocked accounts, a group that includes former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, former Trump advisors Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, right wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, singer Azalea Banks, Pharma bro Martin Shkreli and neo-fascist group the Proud Boys.

Reuters reported last week that Musk reinstated some previously suspended accounts, including U.S. President Donald Trump, satirical website Babylon Bee and comedian Kathy Griffin.

According to Reuters, in October, Musk said Twitter would form a content moderation council “with widely diverse viewpoints.” Musk said no major content decisions or account reinstatements would happen before the council convened.

The Verge reported that the Musk’s decision to reverse years of moderation work at Twitter effectively trashes Musk’s original promise: to create a diverse council that would adjudicate serious moderation decisions.

According to The Verge, the decision to reverse years of moderation work at Twitter effectively trashes Musk’s original promise: to create a diverse council that would help adjudicate serious moderation decisions. Musk backed away from that idea later by blaming “political/social activist groups” for breaking an alleged “deal” – claim that nobody has verified and that advertisers deny.

Reclaim The Net reported that Musk has reinstated a number of accounts, including Donald Trump, The Babylon Bee, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, Kathy Griffin, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Kanye West. According to Reclaim The Net, the only account Musk has said will not be reinstated is Alex Jones.

The Hill reported the return of suspended accounts heightens concerns about content moderation on the platform, which had already been exacerbated by Musk’s mass layoffs at Twitter earlier this month.

It is unclear to me why Mr. Musk appears to prefer to make decisions based on how Twitter users vote on a poll that he posted. Every poll done through social media can be manipulated with by people who want to push the results one way or another. I think decision making on Twitter should be done by a group of content moderators before changes are made.


Elon Musk Cuts Costs At Twitter



The New York Times reported that Mr. Musk has embarked on an enormous cost-cutting campaign since closing his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. He initially slashed half of the company’s 7,500-person work force, fired workers, and continued with layoffs as recently as Monday. But he has also conducted a sweeping examination of all types of other costs at the company, instructing staff to review, renegotiate and in some cases not pay Twitter’s outside vendors at all, eight people with knowledge of the matter said.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Musk’s actions reflect the financial pressure that Twitter is under. The company took on $13 billion in loans for his buyout of the social network, The interest payments for that debt totals more than $1 billion annually. And Twitter has long faced financial difficulties, often losing money and struggling keep up with rivals like Facebook and Google that effectively monetized their advertising products. Some advertisers have paused spending on Twitter as they evaluate Mr. Musk’s ownership.

Mr. Musk has told Twitter employees that “the economic picture ahead is dire” and that bankruptcy might be in the cards for the company.

Business Insider reported that with Monday’s evening email, many changes speculated on by employees or briefly alluded to by Musk are being formalized. Twitter will no longer be covering several costs or paying for a number of perks made available to employees, some for many years, for example. And the maximum amount allotted for work-related trips has been limited, as those trips are also set to become rarer.

According to Business Insider, there were other changes detailed in the email. Twitter employees are expected to work in the office every day as of Monday, the day the email was sent. “Exceptions” will be allowed to allow people to remain working from home on a case by case basis, as Musk has said in previous emails. Musk previously softened his stance on working from home, which was offered to anyone working at Twitter under a decision made by previous CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is now an investor in Musk’s new version of Twitter.

Business Insider also reported that perks, or “allowances” that are being “discontinued” per the memo include all costs associated with “wellness,” “productivity,” and “new hire productivity,” along with home internet or WiFi costs, training and development or “learning,” Camp Twitter, which was a company-wide group activity, and any smaller team activities which were previously expected to happen quarterly. A temporary allowance to cover daycare costs related to COVID is also discontinued.

In addition, the food and beverage situation at the company is also in the process of transition to a “partially paid” offering, according to the email. This means Twitter employees will now have to pay for much of the food the company will offer, where before everything was free.

To me, it sounds as though Mr. Musk has done his very best to encourage current workers to seek out a different company to work at. They might want to find one that provides the perks that are being discontinued at Twitter. This situation could also make people decide not to apply to work at Twitter.

Overall, I don’t see how Twitter can last as a company after so many workers were fired. I’ve seen a whole lot of the people that I follow on Twitter announcing that they have made an account at Hive.


Elon Musk Reinstates Trump’s Twitter Account



Elon Musk said he would reinstate Donald Trump’s account on Twitter Inc. after polling users on the platform, broadening the former president’s potential reach days after he declared another run for the White House, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move also underscored how Mr. Musk has made himself the principal decider on all things Twitter after buying the platform for $44 billion late last month. Mr. Musk had previously said he would establish a content council to weigh in on account reinstatements.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Twitter poll that Mr. Musk launched Friday recorded 51.8% of votes in favor of reinstating Mr. Trump’s account and 48.2% against. Minutes later, Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was restored, though he hadn’t tweeted. His most recent tweet was dated Jan. 8, 2021.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that hours before the poll closed, Mr. Trump, at an event, said he saw no reason to rejoin Twitter and would stay on the social-media platform he set up since. He posted there Saturday evening to encourage followers to vote in Mr. Musk’s poll “with positivity,” but said he planned to remain on his platform.

The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump, who did not immediately return a request for comment, had announced on Tuesday that he planned to seek the White House again in 2024.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Trump is obligated to make his posts available exclusively on Truth Social for six hours before sharing them on other sites, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He can post to any site immediately if the messages pertain to political messaging, fund-raising, or get-out-the-vote initiatives. Truth Social did not return a request for comment.

Reuters reported that Trump’s Twitter account, which had over 88 million followers before he was banned on Jan. 8, 2021, began accumulating followers and had nearly 100,000 followers by 10pm ET Saturday. Some users initially reported being unable to follow the reinstated account on Saturday evening.

According to Reuters, Trump, who on Tuesday launched a bid to regain the White House in 2024, praised Musk and said he had always liked him. But Trump also said Twitter suffered from bots, fake accounts, and the problems that it faced were “incredible”.

Personally, I think Elon Musk is struggling to make Twitter work. He’s fired a lot of workers, and saw others opt-out of experiencing what Musk described as “extremely hardcore” Twitter. He closed Twitter’s offices recently. Mr. Musk reinstated Trump’s account and Trump declined to return to Twitter. Elon Musk has really made a mess of things.


Hundreds Of Employees Say No To Musk’s “Extremely Hardcore” Twitter



Hundreds of Twitter’s remaining employees have resigned ahead of Elon Musk’s “extremely hardcore” cultural reset of the company, according to internal Slack messages seen by The Verge and employee tweets.

The fresh purge of Twitter’s ranks comes after Musk recently fired dozens of employees who criticized or mocked him in tweets and internal messages. Musk then set a deadline of 5PM ET on Thursday for all employees to respond “yes” on a Google form if they want to stay for what he is calling “Twitter 2.0;” otherwise, November 17 would be their final day of work and they would receive a severance package.

According to The Verge, after the deadline hit, hundreds of employees quickly started posting farewell messages and salute emojis in Twitter’s Slack, announcing they had said no to Musk’s ultimatum.

Twitter had roughly 2,900 remaining employees before the deadline Thursday, thanks to Musk unceremoniously laying off about half of the 7,500-person workforce when he took over and the resignations that followed. Remaining and departing Twitter employees told The Verge that, given the scale of the resignations this week, they expect the platform to start breaking soon. One said that they’ve watched “legendary engineers” and others they look up to leave one by one.

On November 17, Elon Musk tweeted the following response to someone asking questions about Twitter’s potential shutdown. Elon Musk tweeted: “The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried.”

The Washington Post reported that hundreds of Twitter employees refused Thursday to sign a pledge to work longer hours, threatening the site’s ability to keep operating and prompting hurried debates among managers over who should be asked to return, current and former employees alike.

According to The Washington Post, the number of engineers tending to multiple critical systems had been reduced to two, one, or even zero, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

In an early sign that the number of those declining to sign was greater than anticipated, Musk eased off a return-to-office mandate he had issued a week ago, telling employees Thursday they would be allowed to work remotely if their managers assert they are making “an excellent contribution.”

The Washington Post also reported: Workers offered varying estimates of how many people remained employed at Twitter, ranging from 2,000 to 2,500, down from the 3,500 or so believed to have remained after an initial round of layoffs affecting roughly half the staff this month. Access cutoffs have been delayed, because they are not sure who is gone, because most of human resources left, according to one of the employees.

As I am typing this, it appears that Twitter is still up and running. The question becomes, how long do Twitter users have before it completely collapses? Personally, I’ve seen many tweets in which people attempt to let their friends know which other social media sites they can be found at.


Twitter Meets Irish Data Protection Watchdog



Twitter met Ireland’s data privacy watchdog on Monday following the departure of key executives from the social network, The Irish Times reported.

The meeting, held within days of the Irish regulator flagging concerns about changes at Twitter, indicates the urgency for both sides in avoiding misunderstandings that could lead to a crippling of the service in European Union states. It comes just over a fortnight after businessman Elon Musk completed his on-again, off-again takeover of the company in a $44 billion deal with a promise to restore it as a bastion of free speech.

According to The Irish Times, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) last Friday requested a meeting with Twitter to establish whether the social media platform would continue to make decisions in terms of the processing of personal data for EU users from their Irish office.

“In light of the coverage over the last 24 hours about the departure of senior staff, including the data protection officer, we want to establish with Twitter that they are going to be continuing to make decisions from their Irish office,” Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner at the authority, told Bloomberg on Friday.

To be able to continue using Ireland as their EU base, “the decisions that are made in terms of processing of personal data for EU users must take place in that country, as well,” said Mr. Doyle. “If they’re not, that will have a knock-on effect on their ability to avail of the main establishment.”

TechCrunch reported: Helmed by erratic new owner Elon Musk, Twitter is no longer fulfilling key obligations required for it to claim Ireland as its so-called main establishment under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

According to TechCrunch: Our source, who is well placed, requested and was granted anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the issue – which could have major ramifications for Twitter and Musk.

Under the EU’s GDPR, Twitter is obligated – in just one very basic requirement – to have a data protection officer (DPO) to provide a contact point for regulators.

Hence the departure of Damien Kieran, its first and only DPO since the role was created at the company in 2018, has not gone unnoticed by its data protection watchdog in Ireland, TechCrunch reported previously. But the Irish Data Protection Commissions (DPC)’s concerns are already spiraling wider than Twitter’s compliance with notifications about core personnel.

Twitter has not commented publicly on the DPC’s warning nor on the departures of senior regulator-facing staffers. Indeed, since Musk took over, TechCrunch reported, its communications department appears to have been dismantled and the company no longer responds to press requests for comment – so it was not possible to obtain an official statement from Twitter about these departures or on the substance of their report.

TechCrunch wrote: If Twitter loses its ability to claim main establishment in Ireland, it would therefore drastically amp up the complexity, cost and risk of achieving GDPR compliance. (Reminder: Penalties under the regulation can scale up to 4% of the global turnover – so these are not rules a normal CEO would ignore.)

Things aren’t looking great for Twitter’s continued existence right now. Will Elon Musk somehow make changes that appease various regulators? Or will he have to sell Twitter to some other company that feels capable of cleaning up the mess that Elon Musk made of the social media site?


Twitter Wants Some Laid Off Employees To Come Back



Mere days after cutting its workforce in half, Twitter is asking some employees to return, according to Bloomberg, Engadget reported.

Citing two sources within the company, the outlet reports management at Twitter has come to the realization it either let some workers off by accident or without realizing that their experience was essential to building the features Elon Musk wants to bring to the platform.

According to Engadget, a decision to bring back some employees would cap off a chaotic weekend at Twitter. The company began Friday by laying off approximately 3,800 employees, a move that gutted teams across the company, including those responsible for developing new accessibility features. On Saturday, the company briefly began rolling out its new paid verification system. One day later, the company reportedly made the decision to delay the release of the feature until after the US midterm elections.

The New York Times reported that Twitter is delaying the rollout of verification check marks to subscribers of its new $7.99 a month subscription service until after Tuesday’s midterm elections, according to an internal post viewed by The New York Times and two people with knowledge of the decision.

Elon Musk’s quest to lay off about half of Twitter’s workforce may not be going entirely to plan, Business Insider reported. The company has already asked some to return, according to posts on the Blind app and Insider sources, including one who also shared a screenshot of confirmation from a Twitter employee.

Insider also surveyed the Blind app, a professional community where verified employees have anonymous conversation, and found posts indicating Twitter employees who the company had laid off had been asked to come back. According to Insider, one user wrote: “It’s true, I was asked to come back Saturday morning,” while another simply said: “Can confirm”.

More than one news site pointed toward the Twitter account of Casey Newton, (who writes for Platformer). He wrote the following thread:

Multiple sources and Twitter Blind chats now saying that the company has begun to reach out to some people it laid off yesterday asking them to come back. Whoops!

From Twitter Slack: “sorry to @- everybody on the weekend but I wanted to pass along that we have the opportunity to ask folks that were left off if they will come back. I need to put together names and rationales by 4PM PST Sunday.

“I’ll do some research but if any of you who have been in contact with folks who might come back and who we think will help us, please nominate before 4”

“I think we might use some android and iOS help.”

Firing thousands of workers, who were notified via email and or by discovering they had been locked out of Slack and email accounts, was an absolutely terrible way to treat the workers. I find it very hard to believe that the majority of the laid-off workers will want to give Twitter a second chance, especially since things have become extremely chaotic since Elon Musk took over.