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Screenshot of Tesla Safety Score by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica.

Cars

Amplifying Anti-Tesla Conspiracy Theorists Isn’t A Good Look For Consumer Reports

Lately, it seems that Consumer Reports isn’t that fond of Tesla. In the latest example, Consumer Reports (CR) claimed that Tesla’s new Safety Score could lead to unsafe driving, and it included a tweet from a well known anonymous anti-Tesla conspiracy theorist who insinuated that Tesla drivers would be risking people’s lives by trying to get high Safety Scores. Anti-Tesla conspiracy theorists have targeted Tesla owners and supporters — including myself — over the past couple of years. So, I have to wonder, by actually amplifying these voices and platforms, what is CR‘s motive here? Or are the people doing this unaware of the broader context and history?

This vile group targets and harasses Tesla supporters, owners, and shareholders online, yet well-established media sites such as CR amplify them. I’ve seen countless tweets from this group with veiled threats aimed at me and others. This group also talks about Elon Musk killing people and accuses him or Tesla of murder pretty often.

What’s worse is that they overlook Tesla’s actual safety record and fully embrace conspiracy theories. This isn’t the first time CR has done this. In response to that horrific accident in Houston, CR made a mockery of the situation by testing Tesla’s Autopilot to prove that, yes, you can trick it into thinking it has a driver when it doesn’t. However, you have to be extremely flexible and sober in order to pull it off. Also, the Tesla in Houston that crashed wasn’t actually using Autopilot.

When Safety Concerns Are An Excuse For Wild Conspiracies

Safety is extremely important. This is why Tesla is developing FSD and rolled out its Safety Score. The complaints about the Safety Score from Tesla owners concerned the fact that they have to drive slower, ease off the brakes, and be more careful.

In some cases, as Zach Shahan pointed out, it seems a bit sensitive. However, the Tesla Safety Score feature is a tool for both Tesla and its customers to learn from — to increase safety. In Tesla’s case, it will help the AI to learn the habits of human drivers and understand the link between actions and what it sees. In the case of humans, it should encourage them to develop safer driving habits.

The Dark Side Of Gamification

CR addressed this further into the article, and I do want to highlight the importance of this. Some Tesla owners do use nag hacks to prevent Tesla’s safety features from reminding them to pay attention while using Autopilot, so it’s safe to assume some may be upset with their driving score and try to cheat the system.

This has to be addressed by Tesla as needed. One key issue is that drivers want access to the FSD software that they paid for and may feel that Tesla owes them this. I can understand that. However, FSD is still being developed. If you misuse what’s out there, Tesla will revoke it.

One question that I would like to see Tesla address about this is: Once FSD is much further along, will those who paid for the software and had it revoked due to unsafe driving get that access back? Or a refund?

Additional Thoughts

I think by including a tweet from someone who has targeted Tesla, its customers, and its supporters online pretty often, CR‘s message won’t be well received by the Tesla community. The fact of the matter is that we are all focused on safety here. However, when safety is pushed aside in favor of promoting conspiracy theories, we have to question the motives and the mentality of those pushing these ideas.

I understand that this is a new technology that the world has never seen. I get the fear of killer robocars, and this stems from humanity’s fear of giving up control. Tesla has proven time and again that its top focus is on safety. Countless lives have been saved due to Autopilot, but these are overlooked in favor of the sensational headlines. Similarly, the Safety Score is about encouraging safe driving, and it’s doing that, yet it’s more sensational to postulate that it somehow reduces safety.

 
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Written By

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

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