Sen. Ed Markey hits back at Elon Musk after he answers impersonation questions

Elon Musk’s Twitter profile is seen on a smartphone atop printed Twitter logos in this illustration taken April 28, 2022.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Sen. Ed Markey chastised Twitter owner Elon Musk on Sunday for his response to Markey’s request for answers regarding the platform’s new verification and impersonation policies.

After a Washington Post reporter managed to create a fake verified account claiming to be the Massachusetts Democrat, Markey shared a letter to Musk on Twitter Friday, asking him “to explain how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again”.

In response, Musk replied to Markey in a tweet sunday and said, “Maybe it’s because your real account looks like a parody?”

Markey didn’t seem to like Musk’s response.

β€œOne of your businesses is under a consent decree from the FTC. Automotive safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you spend your time fighting online. Fix your businesses. Or Congress will,” Markey wrote in a tweet sunday.

Twitter appears to have suspended the $7.99 per month Twitter Blue verification program shortly after the Post conducted its test as celebrity and brand impersonations proliferate on the platform.

But before the break, the Post was able to set up a Twitter account called “@realEdMarkey” using “a spare iPhone, a credit card and a bit of creativity.” The account received a blue verified check mark, even though Markey already has two legitimate verified accounts.

The blue check is supposed to be a feature of paid Twitter Blue, but the Post reporter found that Twitter said the fake Markey account was verified “because he is notable in government, news, entertainment, or a other designated class”.

Twitter recently lost key privacy and content moderation managers.

“Safeguards like Twitter’s blue checkmark once empowered users to be intelligent, critical consumers of news and information in Twitter’s global public square,” Markey said. wrote in his letter to Musk. “But your takeover of Twitter, the rapid and random imposition of platform changes, the removal of safeguards against misinformation, and the firing of large numbers of Twitter employees hastened Twitter’s descent into the world. Wild West of social media.”

Markey asked Musk to respond to his questions in writing by Nov. 1. 25.

The exchange between Musk and Markey on Twitter is not the first time the pair have faced off.

Musk is also the automaker’s CEO You’re here, and Tesla driver assistance systems are branded Autopilot and Full Self Driving in the U.S. In a series of Tesla crashes in August 2021, Markey and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) expressed “serious concerns” about how the company advertises these technologies. They asked the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation.

The senators also called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June to take “aggressive investigative and enforcement action on vehicles equipped with Automated Driving Systems (ADS) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS )” after the administration released data showing more than 500 crashes in vehicles equipped with these technologies.

– CNBC’s Lauren Feiner and Laura Kolodny contributed to this report.

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