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Elon Musk apologises for calling Dustin Moskovitz "retard," says he is a "pompous idiot." Wikimedia Commons

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has escalated his attacks on Tesla, calling it "the next Enron" as the Elon Musk-led automobile company faces a turbulent month.

Moskovitz, who previously accused Musk of delaying development of EVs by "overpromising," took to Meta's Thread on Wednesday with fresh criticism. Moskovitz's post alleges Tesla has misled consumers "on a massive scale," specifically regarding their Full-Self Driving (FSD) software and advertised vehicle ranges.

Instead of responding directly to Moskovitz's allegations, Musk resorted to personal attacks on the Facebook co-founder on X, using insults and a slur. "I'd like to apologize to Dustin Moskovitz for calling him a retard," the tech mogul wrote in a follow-up post.

"That was wrong," he added. "What I meant to say is that he is a pompous idiot whose his head is so far up his own a*s that he is legally blind. I wish him the best and hope that someday we can be friends."

Facebook Co-Founder Compares Tesla To Enron

In a social media post on Wednesday, Moskovitz acknowledged the seriousness of his accusations against Tesla. Moskovitz said he understands this might sound extreme to those unfamiliar with Tesla's recent developments, further noting the dire situation. "This is Enron now, folks," he wrote.

The energy giant Enron's once soaring reputation crumbled in 2001 after a massive accounting fraud scandal. The company's creative accounting practices concealed billions in debt and inflated revenue streams.

This elaborate scheme unravelled, leading to Enron's bankruptcy and the 2006 conviction of its top executives for fraud and conspiracy. Without offering specific evidence to support his claims of large-scale deception, Moskovitz shared Tesla-generated graphs.

According to Moskovitz, these graphs depict an attempt to manipulate data regarding miles driven with FSD, a crucial technology for Tesla's autonomous driving ambitions and robotaxi plans.

Despite Moskovitz's prediction of jail time for Tesla executives, there are no criminal charges against the company or its leadership. It is also worth noting that the EV maker has faced no legal repercussions for consumer or securities fraud.

While Tesla has encountered lawsuits and regulatory probes concerning FSD technology, Autopilot, and vehicle range, no current legal challenges specifically target the company for misleading consumers about FSD mileage data. In contrast, some researchers claim that Tesla's self-driving technology has the potential to reduce road accidents significantly.

Most lawsuits against Tesla stem from claims of misleading customers about FSD capabilities. These cases have either been settled by Tesla or resulted in findings of no liability for the company.

NHTSA Investigates Autopilot Safety Concerns

In a continuing saga, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Friday it was investigating whether Tesla's December recall of 2 million vehicles adequately addressed prior safety concerns with the Autopilot software.

In 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also launched a probe into Tesla's marketing of its driver-assistance software. According to a Bloomberg report, regulators are investigating the promotional methods used and whether Musk played a role in promoting the technology.

Drivers have also accused Tesla of inflating vehicle range, leading to a class-action lawsuit that was recently dismissed in favour of individual arbitrations. Aside from this, the company's 2023 Q3 earnings report revealed a subpoena from the Department of Justice requesting information related to vehicle range, among other topics.

Moskovitz's criticism of Tesla extends beyond its recent controversies. In 2023, the Asana founder publicly questioned the valuations of both Tesla and SpaceX, suggesting that Musk, the leader of both companies, receives excessive credit.

Moskovitz's criticism intensified after Musk endorsed an antisemitic post on a social media platform, even calling for Musk's resignation from all his executive positions.

"I call on Elon Musk to resign," he said on Threads last year, adding that he should resign "(from everything)."