Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., attempted to strong-arm Twitter CEO Elon Musk in an exchange on the platform, saying, "fix your companies or Congress will."
Markey sent a letter to Musk the Friday before, requesting information on how Twitter accounts are verified. He pressed the issue of disinformation and accused the billionaire of "putting profits over people."
"Apparently, due to Twitter's lax verification practices and apparent need for cash, anyone could pay $8 and impersonate someone on your platform," said Markey. "Selling the truth is dangerous and unacceptable."
The letter was sent after Markey engaged with a Washington Post reporter to test how easy it could be to impersonate someone on the platform. The account was ultimately suspended, just as Musk's policies entail.
Markey focuses on the fact that the account was verified under Twitter Blue, disregarding the subsequent ban.
"Twitter and its leadership have a responsibility to the public to ensure the platform doesn't become a breeding ground for manipulation and deceit," he wrote in the letter.
Musk responded, "Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody? And why does your pp [personal profile] have a mask!?"
Markey tweeted, "One of your companies is under an FTC [Federal Trade Commission] consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] is investigating another for killing people. And you're spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies. Or Congress will."
Verification before Musk was given to those authenticated via a company, users' ability to understand particular knowledge or noteworthy social status. It has been viewed as coveted among people who wish to pursue the platform and establish themselves.
Markey's letter downplays the new pay-to-verify system, saying that it needs to allow "users to be smart, critical consumers of news and information in Twitter's global town square."
Top security and privacy experts at the company have resigned since the controversial changes.
The FTC is now tracking privacy and security, pushing Twitter for more oversight in protecting user data.
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