Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts chastised Elon Musk on Sunday after the billionaire had a snarky response to the lawmaker’s request for information about Twitter’s new verification policies. “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” Musk tweeted Sunday morning after Markey shared a recent letter he sent criticizing the company’s new $8 per month Twitter Blue subscription. “And why does your pp have a mask!?” Musk added a few hours later, referring to Markey’s profile picture, which shows the senator wearing a face covering.
Markey wasn’t impressed by Musk’s response. “One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. NHTSA, the auto safety watchdog is investigating another company that has been accused of killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online,” he said. “Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”
Markey wrote the letter that prompted the exchange, which was sent on November 11th. Markey asked Musk to explain how The Washington Post created a verified account that impersonated him. Also, why an official pop up claimed that the verification was due government involvement. Musk has until November 25th for these and other questions to be answered in writing.
Twitter suspended paid account verification within two days of launching its Blue subscription. Trolls made use of the service to impersonate politicians, celebrities, and brands, creating chaos on Twitter. One account, pretending to be LeBron Jam, claimed that the NBA star had requested that the Los Angeles Lakers trade him. Another one destroyed the stock of Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company.
While there’s no certainty Markey’s warning will translate to government action, the likelihood of a regulatory response became more solid on Sunday after Democrats secured a Senate majority. Markey is also a Subcommittee on Communication, Media and Broadband member, the Senate panel most likely recommend action against Twitter. All products recommended by Engadget have been selected by our editorial staff, independent from our parent company. Some stories contain affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase something through one these links. All prices correct at time of publication.