Markey says Musk has ghosted him in Twitter verification spat

File - Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., speaks about climate change during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/Associated Press
File – Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., speaks about climate change during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 7, 2021, in Washington.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that Elon Musk still has not replied to his request for transparency into Twitter’s verification process, after the senator allowed a Washington Post reporter to impersonate him using Twitter Blue.

Markey sent Musk a letter on Nov. 11 asking the new Twitter owner to explain how the company would combat impersonation accounts. 

“I said to Mr. Musk that he had to have a system that guaranteed that when someone was speaking that it was that person,” Markey said at a Hill event on Friday. “He has not yet sent back to me what the solution is.” 

Markey asked Musk in the letter to respond by Nov. 25. 

The senator has argued that Twitter poses a risk to public safety if it can not effectively stop individuals and corporations from being impersonated on the platform. 

“It’s OK if you want to put up absolute crazy stuff that happens all day long on the internet,” Markey told The Hill’s contributing editor Steve Clemons. 

“However, if someone for $8 can say, ‘I’m the CDC, and you don’t have to get vaccinations this winter,’ that now goes to the question of public health and safety in the United States of America,” he added.  

“To say I’m Eli Lilly and I’m going to start giving away insulin, well, that’s going to destroy the stock value of Eli Lilly, which it did overnight. They lost 5 percent of their value,” he said.

Twitter Blue’s initial launch on Nov. 6 only lasted six days before Musk temporarily paused the rollout of the service on Nov. 11 amid concerns of users abusing blue checks to impersonate brands and people. 

Musk originally announced that Twitter Blue would relaunch on Nov. 29 but has since pushed the date back, this time in an attempt to avoid paying the 30 percent fee Apple charges developers for in-app purchases. 

Musk has also said that when Twitter Blue relaunches, it will be more robust and include gold checks for companies, gray checks for government accounts and blue checks for individuals. Currently, it is unclear when Twitter Blue’s relaunch date will be. 

Markey said that while Musk was doing good work at Tesla and SpaceX, he hasn’t grasped the importance of fixing the issues surrounding Twitter.  

“Rocket science is simple compared to democracy, and he doesn’t understand that yet,” Markey said of Musk. 

Tags Ed Markey Ed Markey Elon Musk Elon Musk Twitter verification
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