Elon Musk agrees to have tweets pre-approved by lawyer

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has agreed to have his social media posts regarding the car maker pre-approved by an expert, in order to settle a dispute over his tweeting. 

The tech entrepreneur reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which brought a case alleging he violated a previous settlement requiring his tweets to be approved by a lawyer.

Under the agreement, Mr Musk must get approval from a Tesla-employed lawyer before tweeting about a range of topics related to the car maker.

The deal must now be approved by US District Judge Alison Nathan and would mean Mr Musk could no longer be held in contempt.

Mr Musk must not tweet about topics including company finances or potential mergers without approval
Image: Mr Musk must not tweet about topics including company finances or potential mergers without approval

A settlement was originally reached in September last year after the Tesla CEO tweeted he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 (£325) a share, sending stock on a wild ride.

However Mr Musk later said he would not be taking the company private and regulators found he had lied about having the money to pull off the deal.

The SEC said investors who had bought stock after seeing the tweet were hurt by the inaccurate information.

More from Elon Musk

Following the original settlement, the SEC claimed a tweet sent by Mr Musk on 19 February about Tesla vehicle production was not approved by the company’s “disclosure counsel” and had not been seen by his lawyer.

Lawyers representing the Tesla CEO argued his tweet – which said the company would produce about 500,000 vehicles this year – did not need approval because it was not new information that would be meaningful to investors.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 4: Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives at federal court, April 4, 2019 in New York City. A federal judge will hear oral arguments this afternoon in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that seeks to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement deal. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Image: The SEC brought a lawsuit against Mr Musk alleging he violated a previous settlement

They also said the SEC was violating Mr Musk’s First Amendment rights to free speech.

The deal comes one day after the two sides told the district judge they would need more time to work out an agreement.

Mr Musk must now seek lawyer approval before tweeting about topics such as Tesla’s finances, potential mergers, sales figures, new business lines or a change in company directors.

This is not the first time the Tesla CEO has landed himself in hot water over his tweeting.

Last year, he started a feud with a diver who helped to rescue a youth football team from a flooded cave in Thailand, accusing Vernon Unsworth of being a “pedo guy” in a tweet.

After apologising, he took to Twitter again to question why he had not been sued by the diver if the accusations were untrue.

Mr Unsworth has since brought a defamation case against the Tesla CEO.

Source: SKY NEWS

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