Why Did Two Videos Critical of Tesla Go Offline This Week?

It could be a coincidence, or it might not

Tesla Motors logo
Tesla logo seen on a Tesla car parked in Edmonton center.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When something goes wrong with a high-profile automobile, it’s all too likely that someone nearby will be on hand to document the ensuing chaos. That was the case last year, when one man totaled his Gemballa Mirage GT on a New York City street. More recently, a pair of videos displaying Teslas involved in apparent malfunctions have found a wide audience on social media — just before being taken offline.

All of this has led to some speculation about why the videos in question are no longer easily available. Is it coincidence, or is something more ominous involved? Writing at Jalopnik, Jason Torchinsky offered an inside look at both videos — and what led to their being taken down from Twitter.

Of the two videos, one has a fairly concise reason for being taken down. That was of a Model 3 out for a drive which, as Torchinsky writes, “hit a bump in the road which caused some sort of impact to the battery tray, which then burst into flames” — and which led to battery cells going everywhere while on fire.

In this case, Torchinsky spoke with the original poster, who said that he’d taken the video down because the families involved in the incident asked him to — but that he’d also sent a copy to relevant governmental agencies like the NHTSA and NTSB.

The other controversial video showed a Seattle-area car testing Tesla’s Full Self Driving Beta 10. As Torchinsky writes, it shows something alarming: specifically, “the car seems to make a beeline for some pedestrians at a crosswalk.” This video was taken down due to a DMCA copyright violation; no other details are available.

The timing of the two videos seems more coincidental than anything else, though the cited reason for the second video being taken down does seem strange — to put it mildly. But not everything that’s strange necessarily involves a conspiracy. Still, if these warrant a response from the appropriate agencies, hopefully the videos in question will be seen by the appropriate people.

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