Anonymous, an infamous group of hackers, is attacking Tesla and Elon Musk in a new video that uses so much misinformation that it looks like it could have been produced by the fossil fuel industry.
Update: a Twitter account associated with the Anonymous group claim that the people behind the video are not directly associated with them.
Tesla and Elon Musk are no stranger to smear campaigns and misinformation.
It generally originates from the automotive or fossil fuel industries trying to maintain the status quo and keep making a profit with their polluting products while they can.
Now, they are facing a different adversary: Anonymous.
Anonymous is often described as a decentralized “hacktivist” collective. It is best known for its cyber attacks on government agencies and other institutions, but it has now apparently set its sight on Tesla and Elon Musk.
The group has released a new video through a verified Youtube channel in which it addressed Elon Musk directly:
In the video, Anonymous uses several of the same arguments that the fossil fuel industry has been using for years in order to dismiss electric vehicles and Tesla.
One of the main arguments Anonymous put forward in the video is the same one the EV community has been hearing for years: “Tesla is all about government subsidies.”
This is a disingenuous claim that Tesla detractors have been making for years. Yes, it’s true that Tesla, like any other electric automaker, is taking advantage of government incentives for electric vehicles.
But those incentives are in place to account for the positive effect that EVs have on the environment compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts.
This is mainly a problem in the US, where the subsidies take the form of direct incentives on electric vehicle puchares. In other countries, like in Norway, this is not seen as a problem since the government instead properly taxes gasoline and gasoline-powered cars in other to account for the cost they have on health and the environment.
In the US, it’s the contrary. Fossil fuels are extremely subsidized, while the subsidies that EVs are getting represent only a fraction of what the fossil fuel industry has been receiving for years, even before accounting for the financial costs of the pollution emitted by fossil fuel products.
Anonymous claimed in the video:
“In fact, many people are now learning that the vast majority of Tesla’s income doesn’t actually come from selling cars, it comes from government subsidies.”
This is factually wrong. Again, it looks like Anonymous is being sloppy here, and they might have meant “net income” or “profit” instead of “income.”
Then the statement becomes a little more accurate, but even then, it’s completely disingenuous since it doesn’t account for the fact that Tesla makes a significant gross margin on its vehicles without accounting for subsidies, but it invests a lot of money on accelerating production in order to accelerate EV adoption.
It results in lower net income, and therefore, yes, sales of ZEV credits represent a significant portion of profits.
However, it’s important to note that those ZEV credits are not paid by public money. In fact, the money comes from other automakers who are not as quick to make electric vehicles.
Anonymous also alleges that Tesla employees have been “facing intolerable conditions under Musk’s command for years.”
While it’s true that Tesla is known for pushing its employees hard and having a culture of “mission first,” it’s important to note that Tesla now has over 70,000 employees around the world.
It’s impossible to make every one of them happy, and even the best company, with the best culture and best human resources, will still have a few bad cases of employees being mistreated.
In the video, Anonymous also claimed that Tesla and Elon Musk have “young children working in their overseas lithium mines.”
This is complete nonsense. First off, Tesla nor Elon Musk owns or operates any lithium mine. Tesla does have suppliers who do operate lithium mines, but these are mostly located in Australia and Chile, and there’s no evidence whatsoever that they employ children.
When making this statement, Anonymous was actually showing a screenshot of a clickbait article from The Sunday Times.
The article is behind a paywall, and it looks like Anonymous’ hacking skills are not enough to get behind it since, if they had read it, they would have found out that the article is not about lithium but cobalt. Despite its headline, it doesn’t trace any link between cobalt mined by children and Tesla or Elon Musk.
However, it is true that some cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been known to use child workers.
It is a serious issue, and that’s why any serious company using cobalt-based batteries, including Tesla, uses rigorous supply chain checks to make sure that no supplier is using any raw materials from those mines.
Tesla regularly releases conflict mineral reports discussing this issue.
Furthermore, the company is also moving to battery cells that uses less and eventually no cobalt.
Where things start to sound like Anonymous is trying to troll with the video is when they mention that Musk has been “open about his willingness to stage coups in order install dictators where Tesla’s toxic products are being mined.”
This insane claim appears to be a reference to when Evo Morales, former President of Bolivia, made a completely unsubstantiated claim that Tesla and Elon Musk orchestrated a coup in his country to secure the local lithium supply.
There’s no evidence that Tesla nor Musk has any link to the company involved in the situation, but Musk jokingly said, “they will coup whoever they want” in response to the insanity of that claim.
It was probably an unwise comment, but it certainly in no way an admission that he nor Tesla had anything to do with what happened to Morales in Bolivia.
In short, Anonymous’ attack on Tesla and Musk is full of poorly researched points that amount to misinformation that the fossil fuel industry has tried to push for years.
The fact that they fell for the misinformation and now are even pushing it themselves is disappointing.
The video has already received over 2 million views and over 67,000 likes to only 4,000 dislikes. Please share this article to counter this misinformation.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.