Predictably, eternal loudmouth Elon Musk refused to substantively reply to recent demands from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) for information about the verification process at Twitter after a reporter evidently testing the system under the site’s new management was able to make a “verified” account identifying itself as the Senator, and Markey renewed his push for action this week after Musk flew by a deadline in a letter he issued seeking details.
Verification on social media is generally meant to signify that the claimed owner of an account is its actual owner, and with governmental entities around the world including individual public officials using these platforms and potentially making policy announcements through the same, the security of the verification process takes on a national security aspect. With Elon newly at the helm, Twitter — where thousands have departed amid mass firings — has been rapidly changing some of its foundational elements including the whole verification system, but Markey — acknowledging the changes in his original letter — still sought info including the nature of current and past verification policies at Twitter and how a reporter finding themselves able to create an account impersonating the Senator squared with whatever form those policies took.
Musk originally mockingly replied to the concerns the Senator posted on Twitter, but that was evidently about it. “@elonmusk could respond to my tweets but failed to respond to my letter by yesterday’s deadline and answer basic questions about Twitter verification. Congress must end the era of failed Big Tech self-regulation and pass laws that put user safety over the whims of billionaires,” Markey posted on Twitter Saturday morning. Democrats will have limited legislative freedom in the new Congress because of Republicans taking control of the House, although the party retaining the Senate means they’ll keep the ability to at least force some input from their side in addition to handling agenda items like presidential nominations.
Musk, meanwhile, has also faced stated concerns from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) over the investments in Twitter that trace back to a Saudi royal. These investments evidently predate Musk, but they’re remaining in place following his takeover in which the royal’s investment team evidently prepared to provide him support. Murphy wanted an investigation from a particular federal agency that handles foreign investments in the United States, an entity that evidently maintains jurisdiction even after deals go through.
.@elonmusk could respond to my tweets but failed to respond to my letter by yesterday’s deadline and answer basic questions about Twitter verification. Congress must end the era of failed Big Tech self-regulation and pass laws that put user safety over the whims of billionaires. https://t.co/BEn6n9EitW
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 26, 2022