Elon Musk, who has generally welcomed valid criticism, has now dismissed some serious concerns about Tesla as “weird” attacks from the media.
We previously reported on how “Tesla superfandom is becoming toxic and negative for the electric revolution.”
Part of that involves Elon Musk’s feedback loop, which has been extremely valuable for Tesla, getting corrupted by those superfans.
Musk has often highlighted the feedback loop, which often consists of him responding directly to people and criticism on Twitter, as one of Tesla’s biggest advantages
But in recent years, the CEO has almost exclusively been interacting only with a group of Tesla superfans who are almost entirely suppressing criticism and creating an atmosphere where people are not encouraged to communicate legitimate criticism of Tesla.
These superfans portray most, if not all, criticism as “attacks” on Tesla, and now, Musk seems to agree.
He responded to a comment from one of those known “Tesla Twitter” superfans claiming that several recent stories about Tesla in media are “attacks” from “scared” people:
Some of those stories referenced appear to be the recent fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S with reportedly no one in the driver’s seat, Tesla’s recent solar roof price hike, and recent stories about the Tesla community and Musk himself.
Several of these stories raise questions that one could argue are important, and Tesla and Musk should address them.
This is a great example of what I called out a year ago about Tesla superfans having corrupted Elon’s feedback loop.
I am a big fan of Tesla. I own the stock, I own three Tesla vehicles that I love driving, and above all, I share Tesla’s mission to accelerate electric transportation.
But like any other company, Tesla can sometimes make mistakes, unfair moves, and decisions that are not necessarily in line with that mission.
Despite owning the stock and being a big fan, I have no problem calling out those moves if I see them. I will never be always right with my criticism, but trying to suppress it is not the right way to approach it, in my opinion.
In this case, I think several of these stories shouldn’t be considered as “attacks,” and instead, they should be seen as valid criticism.
For example, the Tesla Solar roof price hike is a real problem.
Last month, we reported that Tesla is drastically increasing the price of its solar roof tiles by as much as 50% based on an extremely inconsistent new “complexity factor.”
That’s a strange move by itself that should require an explanation from Tesla, which hasn’t happened yet, but that’s not the more troubling part.
Earlier this month, we reported that Tesla has also applied the price hike to solar roof projects with contracts already signed. Some of those homeowners had already even spent money on work in preparation for the installations.
In some cases, those homeowners are faced with tens of thousands more dollars in cost for those projects.
Stories in the media about this move are not “attacks from scared people” but legitimate criticism of Tesla’s business practices.
As for the fatal crash, I’m willing to admit that several media outlets wrongly publicized the accident as an “autonomous Tesla vehicle crash,” but I think there are also legitimate questions to be answered about the accident.
Musk commented on the accident, claiming that Autopilot wasn’t active and that it couldn’t have been activated on that road anyway.
However, a family member of the Tesla owner said that the owner went out to “test autonomous features,” and they saw him jump in the back seat after starting the drive.
This is definitely a strange accident that is worth looking into, but I admit that the media should be more careful about how they cover the crash.
As for the “Tesla community attack,” I assume that it’s related to The Detroit Free Press article headlined, “Tesla owner with Mustang Mach-E reports threats on social media from Tesla fans.”
This has been a known and real problem in the Tesla community that I think needs to be addressed. It’s certainly not an “attack” on Tesla or the community.
It’s more about a fringe group of Tesla superfans, and of course, those superfans are not recognizing it as valid criticism but as an attack.
In short, Elon, please don’t see these as attacks, or at least most of these stories, but as valid criticism that needs to be addressed. If you still want to address them yourself instead of through a PR department like most companies, that’s fine, but please stop just listening to your superfans on Twitter only talking about the good things and minor bug fixes and instead address the more serious concerns, like those mentioned above.