Tesla boss and meme reviewer Elon Musk is in trouble with the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) once again, for tweeting.
This comes after Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in which it was agreed that Tesla approve Musk’s tweets which might contain information or claims that could mislead investors. The incident that brought this about saw Musk tweeting that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share.
We considered this a joke but the SEC did not and fined Musk $20 million and made him give up his position as Tesla chairman.
Now Musk has stoked the ire of the SEC by tweeting last week that Tesla would produce 500 000 cars in 2019. The trouble with that is that current guidance puts production at 400 000 vehicles.
The SEC has asked a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt.
What Musk meant to say, according to a report by Ars Technica, is that Tesla’s annualised production rate would reach 500 000 at the close of 2019.
Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2019
With that having been said, Musk tweeted out a clarification later that day but the SEC is not having any of it. The authority claims that the tweet was not accurate and flies in the face of the agreement that was reached last year.
The SEC also argues that the claim of reaching an annualised production rate of 500 000 vehicles at the end of 2019 was not a given in the firm’s guidance and the rate would be achieved sometime between Q4 2019 and Q2 2020.
The fact of the matter is that the SEC feels Musk should have honoured the agreement that was made and had his tweets vetted by a lawyer. Is that an organic way to tweet? Not especially, but when you are the face of the company perhaps you should be a bit more cognisant of how your tweets are seen.
Memes are fine though Elon, keep tweeting your memes, just so long as they don’t contain financial guidance or market-moving news about Tesla.