Sen. Ed Markey has demanded an explanation from Twitter CEO Elon Musk after claiming that a reporter for The Washington Post created a fake account in his name.
The reporter apparently successfully obtained the handle @realedmarkey, with Twitter noting the account was verified because it belonged to a “notable person in government.”
“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.
“Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again,” Markey tweeted Friday.
The Massachusetts Democrat demanded in a letter to SpaceX’s founder that the company explain the procedures in place for its “blue checkmark” verification process.
Sen. Ed Markey Twitter’s “lax verification practices and apparent need for cash,” noting that he had previously verified his actual account under the handle @SenMarkey.
Recent changes, according to Markey, undermine users’ ability to be critical consumers of news and information on the platform, risking the spread of disinformation.
“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 senator wrote.
“But your Twitter takeover, rapid and haphazard imposition of platform changes, removal of safeguards against disinformation, and firing of large numbers of Twitter employees have accelerated Twitter’s descent into the Wild West of social media.
“That is unacceptable. Twitter and its leadership have a responsibility to the public to ensure the platform doesn’t become a breeding ground for manipulation and deceit,” his statement added.
Following the termination of Twitter Blue, Markey’s questions for Musk include what the process is for issuing verification on an account that is notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.
Sen. Ed Markey also questioned the process for issuing the verification, how those processes differ from the previous verification process, how Twitter’s system allows a reporter to obtain verification of a fake account, and whether the social media platform plans to reinstate Twitter Blue.