Tesla’s security team sent a warning to employees this week to stop leaking company information.
The email, which was shared with CNBC and verified with multiple current employees who requested anonymity, warned that outsiders who “will do anything to see us fail” are “targeting” employees for information via social networks and other methods.It reminded employees that they signed confidentiality agreements, and warned them, “Tesla will take action against those who improperly leak proprietary business information or violate the non-disclosure obligations to which we all agreed. This includes termination of employment, claims for damages, and even criminal charges.
The email was in part directed at leaks to the media, noting, “In January an employee was identified for sharing confidential business information on Twitter, including production numbers, with journalists.”
It also said somebody was recently fired for posting the phone number to an internal meeting on social media.
Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have a love-hate relationship with the media, as well as social networks including Twitter, which Musk uses obsessively, and Facebook, which he disdains.
In the past two weeks alone, reporters have broken unfavorable news about Tesla, including:
- Its failure to secure an exemption on tariffs for its made-in-China components that go into its Model 3 electric sedans.
- A resurgence of production glitches affecting employees at its car plant in Fremont.
- Its strained relationship with battery cell suppliers and Gigafactory partner Panasonic.
- Extremely long waits for Tesla service and repairs.
- Tesla’s beef with a vocal critic aligned with short sellers on Twitter.
These stories can overshadow some of the company’s recent accomplishments including:
- Seeing enough interest in its attempt to raise new capital to raise its target from $2 billion to $2.7 billion, overnight.
- The opening of new service centers and authorized body shops, in places like Pearl, Mississippi; Des Moines and Memphis.
- Progress on automated manufacturing and the solar roof at its Sparks, Nevada, battery plant.
- CEO Elon Musk’s promises that Tesla will grow into a driverless car company worth $500 billion.