Tesla CEO Elon Musk Had a Strong Week, Zuckerberg Did Not

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Had a Strong Week, Zuckerberg Did Not

Lawsuits and investigations abounded this week — as per usual for Elon Musk and his many ventures — across two of his more prominent companies: Tesla and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

But amid these allegations and investigations, Meta’s  (META) – Get Free Report new rival microblogging app Threads hasn’t been doing great. And Musk said that he’s closer than ever to cracking the true Full Self-Driving (FSD) code. 

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And in the world of SpaceX and the satellite internet vertical the company operates, a new report revealed just how much power controlling the internet can give to a single company or person. In this case, that’s Elon Musk.

Tesla Is Close(er) to FSD

Musk has said himself that he is the “boy who cried FSD.” Regardless, he thinks Tesla is very close to cracking the code on the software. There’s one piece of the puzzle left: vehicle control. And the biggest hurdle in fitting that puzzle piece is not in engineering, Musk said. It’s in training the AI.

“Vehicle control is the final piece of the Tesla FSD AI puzzle. That will drop >300k lines of C++ control code by ~2 orders of magnitude,” Musk said. “It is training as I write this. Our progress is currently training compute-constrained, not engineer-constrained.”

Despite missed deadlines and several ongoing investigations into the safety of the technology, Musk said in April that  (TSLA) – Get Free Report will solve true FSD in 2023. 

Turning to EV charging, Tesla was reported to have acquired German wireless charging company Wiferion for $76 million. Neither company made any sort of official statement, but the bottom of Wiferion’s website reads: “Tesla Engineering Germany.”

More Legal Trouble

About a week after the Reuters investigation that alleges Tesla has been exaggerating the ranges of its EVs, and further, formed a “Diversion Team” to cancel repair appointments related to range concerns, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against the company. 

Three California Tesla owners filed the suit on August 2, accusing Tesla of falsely advertising the ranges of its EVs. The suit references the Reuters article. 

“Had Tesla honestly advertised its electric vehicle ranges, consumers either would not have purchased Tesla model vehicles, or else would have paid substantially less for them,” the lawsuit reads. 

Threads Isn’t Doing Great

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Threads in early July, it was hailed as a “Twitter Killer.” In the month since, the app has shaken off that optimistic title

Though it had a record-setting launch, signing up 100 million users less than a week after going live, the app’s numbers have fallen steadily since then. Threads’ daily active user count was down around 82% from launch as of July 31; the average time spent on the app has likewise fallen from around 20 minutes to just under three. 

Musk, reveling in his competitor’s struggles, suggested one possible reason behind Threads’ struggles: “It committed the cardinal sin,” he tweeted. “Boring people to death.”

Similarweb, noting that Twitter traffic for the week ending July 23 was down around 10%, said its still too early to tell if the rebrand to X will wind up hurting the platform traffic-wise. 

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X Goes to Court

X filed a lawsuit July 31 against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit organization that has been publishing research on the prevalence of hate speech on the platform. The suit claims that, in addition to illegally scraping data from Twitter, the organization’s “false” reports cost X tens of millions in lost advertising revenue. 

X is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages. 

“Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research, in the desperate hope that he can stem the tide of negative stories and rebuild his relationship with advertisers,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH. “Musk is targeting CCDH because we reveal the truth about the spread of hate and disinformation on Twitter under his ownership, and it’s impacting his bottom line.”

CCDH added that the organization does not accept funding from rival tech companies, governments or their affiliates, as a letter from Twitter’s lawyer suggested. CCDH also said that “Twitter’s lawyers failed to point to any inaccuracies in the research, nor did they refute CCDH’s findings.”

Meanwhile, X also rolled out a new live video feature August 4. 

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SpaceX and the Ukraine War

A recent New York Times report revealed that Musk — through SpaceX’s internet arm Starlink — was able to exert some element of control over the war effort in Ukraine

Musk, the Times reported, deactivated some Starlink terminals depending on the Ukrainian military’s goals at several points in the past year. He refused the country’s request to activate Starlink near the Crimea border last year and deactivated around 1,300 terminals when Ukraine was unable to pay the monthly fees required. 

“Without Starlink, we cannot fly, we cannot communicate,” an unnamed Ukrainian commander told the Times.

Still, Starlink has been instrumental to the country’s success, saving thousands of lives, the country’s digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov told the Times. “This is one of the fundamental components of our success.” 

Regardless, the Times reported that Ukrainian officials remain concerned about Musk’s private control over such a vital component of the country’s war effort.

Elon Musk’s Tweets This Week

Musk, unsurprisingly, tweeted (or posted, or Xeeted) quite a bit last week. 

On August 2, the tech magnate talked renewable energy, something he’s been pushing for a while. 

“Many parts of the world are reaching high peak levels of renewable energy production,” he wrote. “Due to the obviously intermittent nature of wind and solar power, the limiting factor for renewable energy growth is increasingly stationary battery packs at utility scale.”

Energy storage has long been highlighted as the key roadblock to mass renewable adoption. 

Musk also offered his thoughts on politics, something he does from time to time. 

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