Even though Tesla vehicles manufactured today have the internal hardware to be fully self-driving, they still need to undergo software upgrades before self-driving becomes fully functional. Furthermore, no state, as far as I know, allows autonomous vehicles to operate without a driver.

Nevertheless, videos are circulating on TikTok showing Tesla vehicles on the road with no driver and passengers in the back seat. Isn't TikTok legally required to remove these videos? I reported one and was notified that it didn't violate their community standards. I'm not trying to be a Karen, but I think they give people the wrong message and are dangerous.

  • I think it's police rather than TikTok who should be approaching those TikTok users.
    – Ángel
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


The First Amendment states

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It thus protects such videos. An analogous situation is that there is network news coverage of riots, bank robberies, terrorist attacks and assaults. Backpage was seized because it facilitated prostitution, not just reported or even encouraged it. That is basically where the line exists.

  • 1
    Then how can the FTC limit the f-word or sexually explicit material during primetime? Clearly, the government can intervene and limit speech in certain situations. Also, the news is a public service. TikTok is not covering these videos to educate the public. Their sole purpose is entertainment, which also encourages this kind of behavior.
    – user27343
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 0:03
  • 1
    I suggest searching First Amendment questions here: it is not an absolute freedom, e.g. there is no protection for fraud or death threats. Even advocating law-breaking is protected express, up to a point. The current standard is from Brandenburg v. Ohio. Is it likely to produce imminent lawless action? No in the case of TikTok.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 0:12
  • I'll look up that case, but are you saying the standard is that it must produce imminent lawless action? What about creating an age limit for certain content that doesn't produce imminent lawless action? Maybe TikTok can't remove the video, but law enforcement can definitely arrest the content creators. If I was a detective, I would do just that.
    – user27343
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 0:43
  • @user27343 The airwaves are considered a public good, and the courts have ruled that the government can prohibit their use without a license, and to make licenses contingent on following certain rules. You might want to do a web search or ask a separate question if you want more details. Note that these rules don't apply to cable or streaming services. Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 2:42
  • There is, however, a possible issue if TikTok is paying people for their content. Then it could be considered solicitation of a crime. Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 2:44

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