Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts is hopping mad at Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk, and has threatened to take congressional action against Twitter and other Musk-owned companies, after someone set up a “verified account” on Twitter that impersonated the aging Democrat senator. Markey wrote Musk a letter demanding to know how the fake account got through the verification system known as “blue check.”
“A @washingtonpost reporter was able to create a verified account impersonating me—I’m asking for answers from @elonmusk who is putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation,” Markey wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon. “Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.”
“I’m asking for answers from [Elon Musk] who is putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation,” Markey had tweeted on Friday.
As it turns out, Markey had given permission to the Washington Post reporter to set up the fake account. But we digress.
Musk’s response on Twitter was snarky: “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?”
The tweet-fight continued, with Markey writing Sunday afternoon his retaliatory message: “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. Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”
It almost sounds like a government official’s threat against Musk’s right of free speech. Some may see it as an abuse of power.
Democrats are unhappy with Musk, who has turned more conservative in the past few years. Congress has subpoenaed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions about its practices, and now may turn its attention to Musk. Now, with the Senate in Democrat control, Markey could use his powers to hold governmental hearings to embarrass Musk, reveal corporate practices and company policies, and interfere in the free market. Markey sits on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, where is assigned to the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security and the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband.
Markey has served as U.S. senator from Massachusetts since 2013. He was the congressional representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district from 1976 to 2013.