This past Sunday, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) found himself in the crosshairs of new Twitter CEO Elon Musk in the wake of the politicians issuing a series of false statements via a letter addressed to Musk last week concerning the platform choosing to sell blue verification badges to any paying subscribers.
Markey highlighted a recent report posted by The Washington Post within his letter that highlighted an event in which a reporter, sporting the politician’s permission, was able to create a false Twitter account and spend money for the account to receive the verification in order to solely impersonate the politician’s real account.
“Yesterday, a Washington Post reporter easily created a fake Twitter account in my name, and by paying $8.00 was also able to obtain Twitter’s blue checkmark, signifying that Twitter had ‘verified’ the account was indeed that of a sitting U.S. Senator. It was not,” kicked off the letter from Markey. “Apparently, due to Twitter’s lax verification practices and apparent need for cash, anyone could pay $8.00 and impersonate someone on your platform. Selling the truth is dangerous and unacceptable. Twitter must explain how this happened and how it will prevent it from happening again.”
Markey then issued an entirely false claim about the verification badge that the false account was issued.
“Compounding Twitter’s verification dysfunction, a pop-up stated that the fake account was verified because I was a notable person in government, not because someone had paid for the verification blue checkmark,” Markey falsely stated. “Safeguards such as Twitter’s blue checkmark once allowed users to be smart, critical consumers of news and information in Twitter’s global town square.”
The released report from The Washington Post clearly highlighted a side-by-side screenshot of Markey’s real Twitter account vs. the recently created falsified account and the badges show obvious and entirely different popups when clicked on.
The genuine account stated: “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.”
Meanwhile, the falsified account, going against Markey’s claims, stated: “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue.”
Markey then tried to make the claim that the platform had descended into “the Wild West of social media” and tried to issue the demand for answers to questions in relation to the new verification process for the platform, which the company has officially paused for all Twitter Blue users.
Musk clapped back against the ordeal in a tweet from Markey that shows his letter addressed to Musk.
“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,” expressed Markey in the post. “Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.”
“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” shot back Musk.
Musk went on to once again mock the Senator for his account sporting a profile picture of him wearing a mask, stating, “And why does your pp have a mask?”
And why does your pp have a mask!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022