Senator Ed Markey Criticizes Elon Musk for Twitter Verification System and Warns of Congressional Interference


“Fix your companies. Or congress will”

What just happened? Elon Musk is currently busy with massive upheavals on Twitter, not to mention his responsibilities at SpaceX, Tesla and other enterprises. But it seems the richest man in the world always has time to get involved in an online spat. This time it’s with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who told Musk to fix his companies or “Congress will decide.”

Unsurprisingly, the incident is related to Musk’s controversial redesign of the Twitter verification system, which is now part of the Twitter Blue service for $8 per monthsubscribers automatically receive a blue tick.

To draw attention to the problems with Musk’s verification system, a Washington Post reporter created a fake account with the name @realEdMarkey, posing as a senator. Not only was the imitation verified, a pop-up window also appeared on the account stating that it had passed verification, since the owner is a “well-known person in the government.” And this is despite the fact that the Brand had two accounts, each of which had existing ticks marked.

The report prompted Markey to send a letter to Musk asking him to explain in detail the new verification system and how it differs from the free version that preceded it.

Musk, who once called a cave diver who participated in the rescue of a football team in Thailand a “pedophile,” was, as usual, diplomatic in his response to Markey; he claimed that the senator’s real story sounded like a parody. Then Musk asked why he was wearing a mask on the Brand’s avatar.

And why does your pp have a mask!?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022
Markey didn’t take the answers with a good sense of humor. “One of your companies is subject to an FTC consent decree. The NHTSA Car Security service is investigating another in the case of the murder of people. And you’re wasting your time getting into fights online. Fix your companies.

One of your companies is subject to an FTC consent decree. The NHTSA Car Security Service is investigating another murder of people. And you’re wasting your time fighting online. Fix your companies. Or Congress.

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 13, 2022
It took Twitter just two days after launch to suspend the verification of a paid account in response to hundreds of users posing as government organizations; one person posing as Eli Lilly brought down the stock price of a pharmaceutical company after tweeting that it would no longer charge for insulin. Musk said anyone posing as a public figure would be permanently banned from Twitter.

This isn’t the first time Musk and Markey have quarreled. The latter, together with Senator Richard Blumenthal, in August 2021, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how Tesla advertises its driver assistance technologies. Since Joe Biden has already considered exploring Musk’s business dealings, the billionaire may soon face even bigger problems from the government.


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