Twitter owner and Chief Executive Elon Musk continued to antagonize his critics Sunday, drawing the ire of a powerful senator who sits on the Commerce committee.
On Friday, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., tweeted that he was seeking answers from Musk and Twitter after a Washington Post reporter was able to — with Markey’s permission — create a blue-checkmarked imposter account in the senator’s name to show how easy it is to impersonate someone.
“I’m asking for answers from @elonmusk who is putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation. Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again,” Markey said, attaching a letter to Musk asking for a response in writing by Nov. 25.
On Sunday, Musk responded with insults.
“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” Musk said.
Markey fired back at the Tesla
CEO with a barely veiled threat: “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.”
Markey is a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has the power to investigate Musk and his companies, and oversees the Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Twitter apparently disabled signups for its new Twitter Blue subscription program after the Post reporter was able to create the fake account. Under the new system pushed through by Musk, anyone who pays a $8 a month can receive a blue checkmark; previously, the company vetted those who received the blue checkmarks to verify their authenticity.
Musk also mocked Markey for wearing a face mask in his profile picture. Markey has advocated mask-wearing as a COVID-19 precaution for more than two years. Musk, meanwhile, has downplayed COVID and defied government restrictions.