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Tesla Demands Removal of Videos Showing Musk’s Cars Hitting Child-Sized Mannequins

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Self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk is reportedly demanding that an advocacy group remove videos of the company’s vehicles striking child-size mannequins, claiming the footage is defamatory and misrepresents Tesla’s Autopilot system.

The Washington Post reports that Tesla is demanding an advocacy group remove videos of its vehicles hitting child-sized mannequins, claiming that the footage is defamatory and misrepresents its most advanced driver-assistance software.

A cease-and-desist letter obtained by the Washington Post states that Tesla objects to a video by the anti-“Full Self-Driving” group the Dawn Project that shows electric vehicles running over mannequins at speeds over 20 mph while allegedly having the self-driving tech enabled. The video urges the banning of the Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta software.

The video resulted in a number of news articles and criticism of Tesla’s software which is currently being tested by more than 100,000 users on public streets in countries including the U.S. and Canada. Tesla supporters also rushed to the defense of the company, claiming that the test could have been manipulated and many aimed to re-create the demonstrations themselves.

Dan O’Dowd, the man behind the Dawn Project, runs Green Hills Software which makes operating systems for airplanes and cars, which could make him a competitor in the market for car software. He also ran for the U.S. Senate this year.

O’Dowd says that his motivation for targeting Tesla’s FSD system is a conviction that the tech isn’t safe enough and needs to be redesigned, and even banned. “We have been busy hooking up and putting computers in charge of the things that millions of people’s lives depend on: self-driving cars is one of those,” O’Dowd said.

In the cease-and-desist letter, Tesla deputy general counsel Dinna Eskin wrote: “The purported tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology, and disregard widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies as well as the experiences shared by our customers.”

This is not the first time Tesla has sought to censor criticism of its products, Breitbart News reported in 2021 that Tesla asked China to use its censorship powers to shut down criticism of its products on social media. 

It was reported by Bloomberg Businessweek that Tesla “complained to the government over what it sees as unwarranted attacks on social media, and asked Beijing to use its censorship powers to block some of the posts.”

Read more at the Washington Post here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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