Twitter Promptly Suspends Tesla Whistleblower Following Tweets About His Former Employer

Twitter Promptly Suspends Tesla Whistleblower Following Tweets About His Former Employer

Martin Tripp is currently embroiled in a nasty legal dispute over claims he’s made about his former employer, Tesla. Today, Tripp began tweeting out details and photos about his time at Tesla and found himself suspended faster than you can say, “Infowars was an inside job.”

A former technician for the electric vehicle company, Tripp was fired by Tesla earlier this year and accused by Elon Musk of being a “saboteur”. A subsequent lawsuit filed by the company accused Tripp of hacking into “the company’s confidential and trade secret information and transferred that information to third parties”, and giving false information to media outlets.

Tripp took his claims to the SEC and filed a whistleblower tip. He then filed a $US1 million ($1.3 million) defamation lawsuit against Tesla. There’s a lot of bad blood between these two parties.

Earlier today, Tripp took to his personal Twitter and began posting photos that he claims help back up some of the assertions that Tesla has denied.

“Are you ready?” he asked his followers, and proceeded to upload photos of what he claimed to be improperly handled cooling tubes, proof of damaged battery cells being reworked and installed in cars that were sold, and graphics about a high volume of scrap waste.

Tripp made many other allegations, but what might be his most jaw-dropping disclosure was a listing of Teslas that he claims were sold with “punctured/dented/damaged” batteries.

If you’re a Tesla owner, you might want to make your way here, here, here and here to check out the VIN numbers of models that are allegedly carrying hazardous batteries.

But not all of Tripp’s tweets are still on his page. He told Gizmodo that he’s been slapped with a 12-hour suspension by Twitter and some tweets were deleted.

In a direct message (he can still use DMs), he told us that he believes it was because at least one photo contained “an email [address] with Elon’s name”. We can confirm that one photo did appear to show what may be Elon Musk’s email address.

Tripp showed us a screenshot of the notification Twitter sent him and it does list the reason for his temporary suspension as violating its policies against posting private information. “You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”

Here’s the image that contained Musk’s name beside an email address with the address redacted:

Screenshot: Martin Tripp

Whatever the veracity of Tripp’s claims, you have to give him credit for just laying his case out there for all to see. We contacted Tesla for comment and a spokesperson told us:

As we’ve said before, these claims are false and Mr. Tripp does not even have personal knowledge about the safety claims that he is making. No punctured cells have ever been used in any Model 3 vehicles in any way, and all VINs that have been identified have safe batteries. Notably, there have been zero battery safety issues in any Model 3.

Tripp also finds himself as an example of how quickly Twitter is capable of responding to a violation of its policies while the social networks CEO is doing publicity 24/7 to explain how hard it was to suspend Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist host of Infowars who is being sued for claiming the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax and inspiring his followers to harass and dox the victims’ families.

When asked for comment on this story, Twitter did not immediately reply.

It definitely appears that Tripp violated Twitter’s terms, and the fact that the company responded in a matter of a couple of hours sets a new gold standard for which we should all hold the company accountable. We’re more than curious to find out if its capable of evaluating violations so quickly when the personal information belongs to someone who isn’t a billionaire.

[ht Lora Kolodny/CNBC]