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Tesla clams up

The electric carmaker has dissolved its PR department, according to Electrek. The company has been increasingly sparse in its responses to journalists in recent years, leading to at least one reporter covering it having a mild existential crisis and another confirming the only emails he's gotten from the department have been to say they've been getting his emails.

There are so many reasons why a Fortune 200 company would want to have a public relations department, from communicating about new products, to heading off damaging stories, and working through safety issues. But when you have Elon Musk and his Twitter account with 39 million followers at the helm, those are apparently all minor concerns. And when there are pseudo-journalistic entities and that throng of Musk acolytes who will defend him and attack anyone who questions Musk, it's not too difficult to see why you might not bother continuing to staff up the department. Tesla's last comms director, Keely Sulprizio, left the company in December and jumped to Impossible Foods in March.

I didn't reach out to Tesla for comment on this bulletin because Elon never responds to my tweets.

Doxxing insurrectionists: Capitol riot divides online extremism researchers

The uprising has sparked a tense debate about the right way to stitch together the digital scraps of someone's life to publicly accuse them of committing a crime.

Rioters scale the U.S. Capitol walls during the insurrection.

Photo: Blink O'faneye/Flickr

Joan Donovan has a panic button in her office, just in case one of the online extremists she spends her days fighting tries to fight back.

"This is not baby shit," Donovan, who is research director of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said. "You do not fuck around with these people in public."

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Issie Lapowsky
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.
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