Elon Musk says Tesla shouldn’t have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for its Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta testers.
Yesterday, we reported on Tesla’s NDA for its Full Self-Driving Beta program. In the document, Tesla tells testers to be “selective” about what they publicly share about the program and that “a lot of people want Tesla to fail”.
As we pointed out in our report yesterday, some beta testers have been posting videos of Tesla’s system making significant and potentially dangerous mistakes, therefore, the automaker doesn’t outright prevent beta testers from posting videos that can make them look bad. Nonetheless, the document encourages self-censorship.
While it falls short of telling people not to share videos that make Tesla look bad, it comes fairly close and some beta testers interpreted the comment as such.
Last week, Galileo Russell, a Tesla investor who is part of the automaker’s early access program for Full Self-Driving Beta software, said in one of his videos:
“Tesla doesn’t want us sharing all the clips from the videos, just like when it looks good because they know people take it out of context.”
The NDA created a controversy in the Tesla community this week, and now Elon Musk has weighed in.
During an interview at the Code Conference today, Musk was asked about the NDA and the CEO said that Tesla shouldn’t have it. He added that beta testers are “not really following it anyway.”
He didn’t outright say that Tesla will remove it, but it appears that it will become unnecessary as Tesla is currently moving to a wider release of its FSD Beta.
Earlier today, Musk said that Tesla plans to add ~1,000 new Full Self-Driving Beta testers per day based on their driving ‘safety score’ starting next week.
The NDA certainly didn’t look good for Tesla, so it’s not surprising to see Musk distance himself from it. It is certainly coming at a convenient time since Tesla is going to lose control over the perception of the program as more owners are onboarded. Therefore, Elon’s thoughts of the NDA won’t change much.
However, Musk seemed to say that beta testers weren’t following the NDA because “there are plenty of videos” about the program, but that wasn’t really the issue. The NDA clearly didn’t prevent people from posting videos, it just encourages people to be “selective” about what they share because “people want Tesla to fail.”
The goal of a comment like this is clear: don’t give ammunition to those who want Tesla to fail by posting things that make FSD look bad. I just don’t think that it helps give a transparent look at the technology, which I believe is more important than anything Tesla naysayers have to say about it.
It also associates people criticizing the technology with people wanting Tesla to fail. In actuality, that’s just a small subset of the people criticizing Tesla, and in my opinion, not an important enough subset to warrant discouraging people from providing an honest look at the technology.
I know that plenty of beta testers have only been posting unedited drives and have given an honest look at FSD Beta regardless of any NDA. More power to them. Then again, there are plenty of people who limited what they shared based on the NDA and fear of retaliation.
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