Musk Found Not Liable in Trial Over Tesla Tweets

    Musk Found Not Liable in Trial Over Tesla Tweets
    Last updated Feb 05, 2023
    Image credit: AP


    • On Friday, a US jury in San Francisco, Calif., found Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk and his company were not liable for misleading investors, who sought billions in damages over Musk's 2018 tweet that he had the "funding secured" to take the electric car company private.
    • Shareholders claimed that Musk misled them by tweeting on Aug. 7, 2018, that he had the funding to and was "considering taking Tesla private at $420," later adding that the "only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote."
    • In light of the nine-member jury verdict, Musk took to Twitter to say that he was "deeply appreciative of the jury's unanimous finding of innocence" and that "The wisdom of the people has prevailed!"
    • Musk insisted in court that he safeguarded shareholders’ best interests and believed he had a commitment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, which he says was recanted after the tweet. He added that he also could have gotten funding from selling some of his stock in SpaceX.
    • Jurors were asked to decide, among other things, whether Musk's tweet was material to investors and caused them to lose money, with the jury foremen saying, "The overall message, it just didn’t land," adding that there was no "'aha’ moment."
    • Musk has already had to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $40M in a settlement regarding his tweet, though he has since claimed that he entered into the settlement under duress.


    Narrative A

    Though this jury concluded Musk wasn't responsible for investor losses, the fact remains that the world's second-richest man has a tweeting problem. While arguing he has the right to speak freely on the platform, he simultaneously claims that not everything he says should be taken seriously. Whether found guilty in a courtroom or not, Musk should listen to the pleas of his investors and take his volatile social media habits down a notch.

    Narrative B

    This was the one and only correct verdict. Musk's tweet wasn't fraudulent and he had no ill intent. He simply wanted to inform all shareholders — big and small — of his plans rather than keep the secret solely among the board and wealthy investors. Musk also knew he could use his wealth from SpaceX to take Tesla private if he needed to. He doesn't deserve to be penalized just because the deal didn't go through.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!