Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has called on Congress to pass new legislation to regulate social media after Elon Musk ignored his demand letter.
On November 11, Markey sent a letter to Musk asking about the new paid account verification feature. The first rollout of Twitter Blue made it easier for users to impersonate politicians, celebrities, and brands. The Washington Post was able to create a verified account of Senator Markey.
After Markey shared a copy of the letter on Twitter and highlighted that The Post was able to impersonate him, Musk joked with him, writing: “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody.” A few hours later, Musk wrote, “And why does your pp have a mask!?”
The billionaire was referring to Markey’s profile picture, which shows him in a face covering.
Markey later threatened the Tesla owner: “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.”
Musk had until November 25 to respond to Markey’s letter, which he did not.
“Elon Musk could respond to my tweets but failed to respond to my letter by yesterday’s deadline and answer basic questions about Twitter verification,” Markey tweeted on November 26. “Congress must end the era of failed Big Tech self-regulation and pass laws that put user safety over the whims of billionaires.”
Musk is yet to respond to Markey’s latest tweet. However, on Friday, he did appear to answer one of the senator’s questions by announcing a new verification system. It will require manual authentication and the check marks will have different colors depending on the type of user.
“Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not), and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates,” Musk said.