Tesla bars staff from anonymous chat app after leaks

Employees at the electric-car maker can't use their company email to validate Blind accounts, the anonymous chat app says.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
Expertise News | Mobile | Broadband | 5G | Home tech | Streaming services | Entertainment | AI | Policy | Business | Politics Credentials
  • I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Tesla leaks are reportedly leading to employees being barred from using Blind.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tesla has blocked employees from using anonymous workplace social network app Blind following leaks about the company, Blind has confirmed.

Blind has said Tesla is blocking verification emails from its employees' addresses so they can't validate their accounts. 

"We first found out about this issue through emails from Tesla employees who were trying to sign up on Blind but were not receiving verification emails from us," Curie Kim from Blind told CNET in an email Tuesday afternoon. "We looked into the verification rates for Tesla and there was a surge in verification failure on our end starting on May 4th, 2019."

"From these facts, we can confirm that Tesla is preventing employees from accessing Blind," Kim said.

She explained it was similar to when Uber blocked Blind usage by employees back in 2017 after whistleblower Susan Fowler spoke up about the Uber working climate.

Kim said more employees from more than 40,000 companies are using Blind, including 55,000 Microsoft staffers, 38,000 from Amazon , 16,000 from Google , 13,000 from Facebook , 11,000 from Uber and 10,000 from Apple .

"Tesla is the only company that is blocking its own employees from accessing or signing up on Blind," she said.

As spotted earlier by Verdict, a Tesla employee had posted publicly on Blind in May about being unable to use the app. 

"Why is Tesla opposed to their employees using Blind? We can't access the app on the company network," the post says. "Have to use phone data instead. And it seems they're blocking emails from Blind too. I told a couple of co-workers about the app but they haven't been able to receive a verification code to complete the sign-up process!"

Variety said Tesla staff are also unable to use Blind via Tesla's Wi-Fi network.

Blind requires users to verify their account with a company email address but then keeps their identity anonymous in order to give "an equitable voice to everyone."

"Through anonymity and community, we aim to flatten corporate hierarchy and remove professional barriers in order to initiate open conversations and create transparency," Blind says.

The app features multiple channels for users: topics channels, private company channels, Tech Lounge and Startup Lounge.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has meanwhile been trying to psyche his employees up to hit delivery targets, reportedly sending out an email last week top push hard while demand is high.

Reports say Tesla's current quarter could eclipse its 90,700 deliveries record.

Originally published June 4, 2:18 p.m. PT.  
Update, 3:49 p.m.: Adds confirmation from Blind.