Elon Musk reaches settlement in SEC tweet battle


Enlarge / Elon Musk exits federal court on April 4, 2019 in New York City. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Elon Musk has reached a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the two parties said in a legal filing on Friday. The new agreement provides much more detailed guidance about when tweets and other public statements by Musk must be approved by Tesla lawyers.

Musk’s original deal with the SEC was announced last September. It required Musk to obtain pre-approval for tweets that “contain or could contain” information that’s material—legal jargon for information that’s significant to shareholders. While the SEC expected Musk to begin regularly clearing tweets with lawyers, Musk interpreted this language as giving him significant discretion to decide for himself which tweets contained material information. As a result, he didn’t seek legal review for any tweets in the first few months the agreement was in effect.

In February, Musk tweeted that Tesla “will make around 500k in 2019.” Hours later, he followed up with a clarifying tweet, stating that he “meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k.” Musk didn’t get this tweet cleared by Tesla lawyers. The SEC viewed that as a violation of the agreement and asked Judge Nathan to hold Musk in contempt.

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