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Elon Musk Fires Back at Dem Senator After He Sends Letter Demanding Answers on Verification Badges

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk fired back at Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) after he sent a letter to the billionaire about blue verification badges on the platform.

On Friday, Markey took to Twitter to mention a report published by The Washington Post titled, “We got Twitter ‘verified’ in minutes posing as a comedian and a senator.”

The Post reporter was able to get Markey’s permission to create a Twitter account impersonating his actual account.

“In a few minutes, I got a blue check mark on an impersonation of the lawmaker, who has for years scrutinized tech giants in the Senate,” the report explained.

Markey also shared the letter in the tweet with the caption, “I’m asking for answers from [Elon Musk] 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.”

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In the opening of his letter, Markey wrote, “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.”

He continued, “It was not. 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.”

The senator later wrote, “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 added, “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 letter went on to argue Musk’s takeover of the company has “accelerated Twitter’s descent into the Wild West of social media.”

Concluding the letter, Markey wrote, “Allowing an imposter to impersonate a U.S. Senator on Twitter is a serious matter that you need to address promptly.”

Musk replied to the tweet, saying, “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?”

He also asked Markey, “Why does your pp have a mask!?”

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According to Twitter’s help center, Twitter Blue is an “opt-in, paid monthly subscription that adds a blue checkmark to your account and offers early access to select new features, like Edit Tweet.”

Users can, “now on iOS, subscribe or upgrade* to Twitter Blue for $7.99/month (introductory offer) to get a blue checkmark and other premium features.”

Last week, it was reported that Twitter appeared to have paused the service after users began impersonating brands and famous individuals.

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