Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey criticized Elon Musk on Sunday after the billionaire sarcastically responded to a lawmaker’s request for information on Twitter’s new verification policy.
“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” Musk tweeted on Sunday morning after, as Marky shared a recent letter he sent criticizing Twitter’s new $8-a-month Blue subscription. “And why does your pp have a mask!?” Musk added a few hours later, referring to Markey’s profile picture of the senator with a mask on his face.
Markey was not impressed with Musk’s response.
“One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online, wrote the senator.
“Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”
Marky sent the letter that became the reason for the exchange of views on November 11. In the letter, he asks Musk to explain how The Washington Post was able to create his fake account and it got verified, and why Twitter users are being told that the fake profile is related to a government role. Musk has until November 25 to answer these and other questions in writing.
Twitter has suspended paid account verification less than two days after launching its new Blue subscription. While the service was available, trolls used it to impersonate celebrities, politicians and brands, causing chaos on the platform. One account impersonating LeBron James claimed that the NBA star asked him to trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers team. Another collapsed shares of the pharmaceutical Eli Lilly company.
While there is no certainty that Markey’s warning will lead to government action, the likelihood of a regulatory backlash grew stronger on Sunday, after Democrats secured a majority in the Senate. Markey is also a member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband, the Senate panel most likely to recommend action against Twitter.