Elon Musk defends tweets in SEC’s contempt proceedings

Tesla CEO Elon Musk argued Friday that his Twitter use did not violate a settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and that the agency’s request to have him held in contempt is based on a “radical interpretation” of the order, according to court papers filed in Manhattan federal court.

The SEC has asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement agreement reached last year over Musk’s now infamous “funding secured” tweet. Under that agreement, Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

Musk contends he didn’t violate the agreement and that the problem lies in the SEC’s interpretation, which he describes as “virtually wrong at every level.” The filing also reveals new details about the settlement negotiations, notably that the SEC sent Musk a draft agreement that would have required him to obtain pre-approval for all public statements related to Tesla, in any format.

Musk and Tesla never agreed to those terms. Instead, Musk says the agreement requires him to comply with Tesla own policy, which would require pre-approval for “written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material to the company or its shareholders.”

The barbs traded via court filings are the latest in an escalating fight between the billionaire entrepreneur and SEC that began last August when Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share.  The SEC filed a complaint in federal district court in September alleging that Musk lied.

Musk and Tesla settled with the SEC last year without admitting wrongdoing. Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine; Musk had to agree to step down as Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years; the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board; and Tesla was also told to put in place a way to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company, including via Twitter.

But the fight was re-ignited last month after Musk sent a tweet on February 19 that Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year, correcting himself hours later to clarify that he meant the company would be producing at an annualized rate of 500,000 vehicles by year end.

The SEC argued that the tweet sent by Musk violated their agreement. Musk has said the tweet was “immaterial” and complied with the settlement.

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The Scantron meme is a clever nod to finals week

Image: Getty Images

Scantrons are the bane of any student’s existence. But this meme might make them a little less nerve wracking. 

If you went through any sort of school system, you probably had to use a Scantron form to take a test. After agonizing over a multiple choice question, you scratched in what you hoped was the right answer with a No. 2 pencil and prayed to the standardized testing gods that you won’t get hit with a fuchsia incorrect mark.  

But the horrible test sheets are now a beautiful ASCII meme. The Scantron meme imagines a variety of characters attempting to take a multiple choice test in the only ways they know how, like this dolphin. 

Or mid-2000s Gwen Stefani. 

Since Thursday, the meme has taken over Twitter feeds. 

There were even crossovers with the “They live among us” meme, which banishes sinners like stoners to the depths of Scantron-less hell. 

If hell doesn’t have standardized tests, though, it doesn’t sound so bad. 

Some Twitter users leaned into Twitter’s formatting mess.

But Twitter’s formatting is still easier than dealing with the crushing anxiety of a multiple choice test.

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Hillary Clinton replies to AOC's take down of Jared Kushner and we all need a minute

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Twitter game just got even better.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter game just got even better.
Image: Getty Images for SXSW

Brace yourself: AOC and Hillary Clinton have joined forces on Twitter to created a clapback so powerful that you may need to take a some deep breaths to compose yourself.

It went down on Thursday night, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a very straightforward “But his WhatsApp,” after it was alleged that Jared Kushner had been communicating with foreign officials using WhatsApp. 

Kushner’s behavior is obviously problematic on any number of levels, not least of which is that his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, ran his campaign against Hillary Clinton almost exclusively on the charge that she’d used a private email server while she was secretary of state. Lock her up, etc. 

So it was especially potent when Hillary herself replied to AOC’s tweet with a succinctly satisfying, “Tell me about it.”

That’s the stuff. 

Hillary is no dummy and no doubt knew this was exactly the kind of thing that AOC’s sizable social media fanbase would go wild over. And, of course, AOC had the reaction that pretty much all of us had, which was to freak out in a reply tweet to Hill.

We can only hope that this exchange is the beginning of a long-lasting friendship between to the two Democratic icons — and that they exclusively communicate using the encrypted messaging app Signal so that none of us ever have to hear about it again. 

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Woman asks Tinder for tech support with her Wii, and it actually worked

Turns out that sometimes, Tinder is good for something other than unsolicited dick pics and catfishing.  

Twitter user @meggzsalad was having a bit of a struggle with her Wii when the images on-screen were only showing in black and white. Instead of frantically Googling or sifting through multitudes of tech support forum responses from 2011, she reached out for help to an unlikely source — men on Tinder. 

The responses, unlike the usual unwanted harassment, were surprisingly wholesome. Advice included a wide range of potential fixes. Well, mostly. 

A user suggested that “your wii component cord is probably fucked up tho you can order one from amazon or walmart.” Another said it “sounds like your wii is on the wrong TV out put I know that happens with my game cube sometimes.” One response actually came from a computer engineer, who replied that she should try “dusting off the jacks that plug into the screen.” 

If all the responses received were a similar flavor of both helpful and respectful, this would be a wholesome content slam dunk, proving that an unlikely community can come together to support someone, no strings attached. Unfortunately, there was at least one really bad response. 

If you take a look at the last picture in the list of responses, you’ll know what we mean. Twitter seemed to be similarly shook by the gut-punching tonal whiplash of the final response. 

Oh, Tinder. Always full of surprises, disappointments, and occasionally, tech advice. 

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A week with Twitter's attempt at a more civil internet

Over the past few months, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been adamant that one of his goals is to “increase the health of public conversation” on the site. Because it’s no secret that, as great as Twitter is at connecting you with people across the world, it’s also great at connecting you with bots, trolls and spam. Unsurprisingly, Twitter wants to change that. And it’s hoping to find a solution by publicly testing new conversation features, through an experimental program that users can apply to participate in. This launched last week as an app called Twttr, which I’ve been using as my main tool for reading and writing tweets for the past week.

With Twttr, the company says it wants to make conversations easier to read, understand and join. And to do that it’s using features like color-coded chat bubbles to help you browse threads more efficiently. For instance, if someone you follow replies to one of your tweets, their response will be highlighted by a light-blue tag, making it easier to spot. This can be particularly helpful if you have a large number of followers, or have a tweet that goes viral and generates a lot of responses. It’s intended to filter out the noise and keep you engaged with people you actually know, as opposed to strangers.

Alternatively, if someone you don’t follow starts a conversation with you, their tweets will have a grey tag, similar to the “Original Tweeter” label Twitter has tried in the past. It’s clear that Twitter wants to make the biggest changes to how you interact with others in your mentions, since the tweaks there go deeper than colored bubbles. In Twttr, there are thread indentations designed to help you keep track of replies that may branch off from the main conversation. Those are complemented by a “show more” button which hides responses that, according to Twitter, may be abusive or spammy.

A closer look at Twitter's prototype app.

So far, the experience isn’t drastically different, compared to the main Twitter app. But there are aspects of the beta that I’m starting to like, such as the colored chat bubbles that make it easier to keep up with a conversation. At the same time, though, it’s worth noting that the Twttr app doesn’t support all of Twitter’s mobile features. That includes the revamped camera, which makes it hard for me to use the prototype app as my daily driver.

It’s too early to tell whether these experimental features will manage to successfully filter bots, trolls or spammers completely out of your mentions. But, I have noticed that the color-coded labels and indented tweets let me follow threads more easily. And they help me decide which replies I actually want to read and interact with. Meanwhile, the “show more” can filter out people who may be trolling, although I have come across tweets that aren’t abusive or spammy in some of its hidden replies.

I think what bugs me the most about the “show more” feature is that, if a thread within a thread becomes too long, it just looks odd. Basically, the more you scroll to read the responses, the smaller the tweet boxes get, and that makes it extremely difficult and tedious to read tweets.

Twitter wants threads to be a place for more healthier conversations, and something that can get in the way of that are likes and retweets, two engagement tools that Dorsey has said aren’t necessarily the right incentives for people. That’s why in Twttr, the heart and retweet icons aren’t visible at first when you’re browsing threads — they only show up once you tap to reply to a tweet. If you do tap and hold either button, you can see who retweeted or liked a tweet. And although you can still see and interact with the icons on your main feed, this shows that Twitter and Dorsey are at least considering getting rid of the like button in some areas of the social network.

Still, Twitter has made it clear that these features might never make it beyond Twttr and into its main application. That said, it’s a good way to at least get an idea of the ways the company is thinking about changing the service. Naturally, the whole point of Twttr is to get your feedback on its experiments and, if you get accepted into the prototype program, you can share your thoughts with the company directly from the app. Twitter is sending surveys periodically, as well, which ask you about your experience with reading replies or whether you prefer the Twttr or Twitter apps.

You can expect Twttr to keep changing as Twitter continues to roll out new experimental features, such as letting you subscribe to relevant threads — which leaked recently but hasn’t made its way to the Twttr app yet. I do hope that Twitter brings some of the features from its main app to Twttr, though, because right now the new Stories-style camera doesn’t work. That means I’m having to switch back and forth between the two apps, and that’s basically the only thing keeping me from using Twttr all the time

Gallery: Twttr hands-on | 8 Photos

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