- The SEC asked a federal judge to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating a settlement.
- Musk responded on Twitter by calling the SEC “broken” and claims he did not violate their agreement.
The SEC Claims Musk Violated a Settlement
Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the Security and Exchange Commission “broken” on Twitter after they claimed he violated a previos settlement with a tweet.
On Monday, the SEC asked a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt for breaking a settlement deal. In October 2018, the SEC and Musk reached an agreement that states that Musk must have any social media posts that could contain information that might be materials for shareholders pre-approved before sending.
On February 19, Musk tweeted about Tesla, and followed up with a correction.
The SEC claims these tweets violate that settlement and said in their filing that the information was “inaccurate.”
“Musk did not seek or receive pre-approval prior to publishing this tweet, which was inaccurate and disseminated to over 24 million people,” the file reads. “Musk has thus violated the Court’s Final Judgment by engaging in the very conduct that the pre-approval provision of the Final Judgment was designed to prevent.”
Tesla confirmed that these tweets were not pre-approved, but also claimed that they did not have to be. The information that Musk tweeted was not new, and had been available to the public since the end of January in an earnings call. Because of this, they say Musk did not need approval.
Musk also said on a 60 Minutes interview in December that he does not usually have his tweets pre-approved and that he has no respect for the SEC. He claimed he only followed the rules of their settlement based on his respect for the Justice Department. The SEC referenced this in their filing against him.
Musk Responds on Twitter
On Monday, Musk used Twitter to attack the SEC for their decision. In response to a tweet that included screenshots of Musk giving the correct information on Tesla in a Fourth Quarter earnings call, Musk claims the SEC never read the transcript.
He also reiterated his support for the justice system.
On Tuesday morning, Tesla shares went down three percent in premarket trading. He responded to an exchange on this matter by calling the SEC ”broken.”
He also responded “exactly” to a meme criticizing the SEC.
Musks Past Issues with the SEC and Future Ramifications
This is not the first time Musk has found himself in trouble with the SEC, specifically for his tweets. The commission previously tried to remove him from Tesla after tweets he sent about shares in August. They accused him of fraud and share price manipulation for making the information public.
They reached a settlement that allowed him to stay on as CEO, but he lost his chairman position. This settlement also created the mandate that his tweets need pre-approval.
Right now, the exact potential consequences of this filing are unclear. A federal judge in New York, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, said that Musk has until March 11 to explain why he should not be held in contempt.
According to Urska Velikonja, a professor at Georgetown Univerity Law Center, Musk could face fines up to $1,000 per day between when the court issued the order and when the court rules that he is in compliance.
Rebecca Roiphe, a professor at New York Law School, told the New York Times that this could also be a chance for the SEC to try to oust him from his CEO title again.
See What Others Are Saying: (Forbes) (Business Insider) (New York Times)
Facebook Is Reviewing More Than 2,200 Hours of Footage for Next-Gen AI
The project, which could prove to be revolutionary, is already raising some big privacy concerns.
Facebook’s Next-Gen AI
Facebook announced Thursday that it has captured more than 2,200 hours of first-person video that it will use to train next-gen AI models.
The company said it aims to make the AI, called Ego4D, capable of understanding and identifying both real and virtual objects through a first-person perspective using smart glasses or VR headsets. In effect, that could potentially help users do everything from remembering where they placed forgotten items to recording others in secret.
Facebook listed five key scenarios the project aims to tackle and gave real-world examples of how each may look for people who will eventually use the AI.
- “What happened when?” With that scenario, Facebook gave the example, “Where did I leave my keys?”
- “What am I likely to do next?” There, Facebook gave the example, “Wait, you’ve already added salt to this recipe.”
- “What am I doing?” For example, “What was the main topic during class?”
- “Who said what when?” For example, “What was the main topic during class?”
- “Who is interacting with whom?” For example, “Help me better hear the person talking to me at this noisy restaurant.”
Facebook said the amount of footage it has collected is 20 times greater than any other data set used by the company.
In the wake of recent controversy surrounding Facebook, it’s important to note that the footage wasn’t reaped from users. Instead, the company said it, and 13 university partners, compiled the footage from more than 700 participants around the world.
Still, that hasn’t alleviated all privacy concerns.
In an article titled, “Facebook is researching AI systems that see, hear, and remember everything you do,” The Verge writer James Vincent said that although the project’s guidelines seem practical, “the company’s interest in this area will worry many.”
Vincent pointe out that the AI announcement doesn’t mention anything in the way of privacy or removing data for people who may not want to be recorded.
A Facebook spokesperson later assured Vincent that privacy safeguards will be introduced to the public in the future.
“For example, before AR glasses can enhance someone’s voice, there could be a protocol in place that they follow to ask someone else’s glasses for permission, or they could limit the range of the device so it can only pick up sounds from the people with whom I am already having a conversation or who are in my immediate vicinity,” the spokesperson said.
Among positive reception, some believe the tech could be revolutionary for helping people around the house, as well as for teaching robots to more rapidly learn about their surroundings.
FDA Issues Its First E-Cigarette Authorization Ever
The authorization only applies to tobacco-flavored products, as the FDA simultaneously rejected several sweet and fruit-flavored e-cigarette cartridges.
FDA Approves E-Cigarette
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an e-cigarette pen sold under the brand name Vuse on Tuesday, as well as two tobacco-flavored cartridges that can be used with the pen.
This marks the first time the FDA has ever authorized the use of vaping products. In a news release, the agency said it made the decision because “the authorized products’ aerosols are significantly less toxic than combusted cigarettes based on available data.”
“The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products — either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption — by reducing their exposure to harmful chemicals,” the agency added.
The company that owns Vuse, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, also submitted several sweet and fruit-flavored pods for review; however, those were all rejected. While the FDA did not specify which flavors it rejected, it did note that it has yet to make a decision on whether to allow menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, including ones sold under Vuse.
FDA Is Reviewing All Vape Products Still on the Market
In January 2020, the FDA banned pre-filled pods with sweet and fruity flavors from being sold. While other e-cigarette related products, including some forms of flavored vapes, were allowed to stay on the market for the time being, they were only able to do so if they were submitted for FDA review.
The FDA’s primary issue with fruity cartridges stems from statistics showing that those pods more easily hook new smokers, particularly underage smokers.
In fact, in its approval of the Vuse products, the FDA said it only authorized them because it “determined that the potential benefit to smokers who switch completely or significantly reduce their cigarette use, would outweigh the risk to youth, provided the applicant follows post-marketing requirements aimed at reducing youth exposure and access to the products.”
While some have cheered the FDA’s decision, not everyone was enthusiastic. Many critics cited a joint FDA-CDC study in which nearly 11% of teens who said they vape also indicated regularly using Vuse products.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (Wall Street Journal) (The Washington Post)
Kaiser Permanente Health Workers Vote To Authorize Strike Over Pay, Staffing, and Safety
The vote could inspire unioned Kaiser workers in other states to eventually approve strikes of their own.
Workers Approve Strike
Over 24,000 unioned nurses and other healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals voted Monday to authorize strikes against the company in California and Oregon.
The tens of thousands of workers who cast a ballot make up 86% of the Kaiser-based healthcare professionals represented by either the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) or the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. An overwhelming 96% voted to approve the strike.
According to both unions, the list of workers includes nurses, pharmacists, midwives, and physical therapists.
The vote itself does not automatically initiate a strike; rather, it gives the unions the power to call a strike amid stalled contract negotiations between Kaiser and the unions. If the unions ultimately tell their members to begin striking, they will need to give a 10-day warning.
The California and Oregon contracts expired Sep. 30, but several more Kaiser-based union contracts are rapidly approaching their expiration dates as well. That includes contracts for more than 50,000 workers in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Washington state, and D.C. Notably, the demands from those workers echo many of the demands made by California and Oregon’s union members.
At the center of this potential strike are three issues: staffing problems, safety concerns, and proposed revisions to Kaiser’s payment system. For months, nurses have been publicly complaining about long shifts spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages, and an over-reliance on contract nurses.
Because of that, they’re seeking to force Kaiser to commit to hiring more staff, as well as boost retention.
But the main catalyst for any looming strikes is pay. According to UNAC/UHCP, Kaiser wants to implement a two-tier payment system, which would decrease earnings by 26% to 39% for employees hired from 2023 onward. On top of that, those new employees would see fewer health protections.
The unions and their members worry such a system could lead to an increased feeling of resentment among workers since they would be paid different rates for performing the same job. They also worry it could exacerbate retention and hiring issues already faced by the hospital system.
Additionally, the workers want to secure 4% raises for each of the next three years, but Kaiser’s currently only willing to give 1%, citing a need to reduce labor costs to remain competitive.