US senator threatens Elon Musk
US Senator Edward Markey has responded to a tweet by Twitter owner Elon Musk by threatening congressional intervention if the billionaire doesn’t “fix” his companies to the lawmaker’s satisfaction.
The row began on Friday, when Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, demanded answers from Musk as to how a Washington Post reporter was able to create a verified account on the platform impersonating the senator. “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.”
Musk, who acquired Twitter in a $44 billion takeover that was completed late last month, replied to Markey on Sunday, saying, “Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody.” He posted another tweet asking why Markey’s profile picture shows him wearing a mask.
Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022
The Tesla CEO’s flippant response clearly didn’t sit well with the career politician, who warned, “One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies, or Congress will.”
Markey’s threat came amid leftist allegations that Musk’s takeover would make Twitter a “direct threat to public safety” by allowing “harmful” content. President Joe Biden, also a Democrat, suggested last week that his administration may need to investigate whether Musk’s cooperation with foreign countries created a “national security threat.”
Reacting to Musk’s spat with Markey, a Democrat activist group called People for Bernie said it was a bad idea for the billionaire to “troll a high-ranking senator with a history of taking down rich people.” Musk replied, “Are you suggesting the senator will abuse his political power to attack me?”
Here's @SenMarkey demanding tech companies censor in accordance with his political views, all in the context of his party threatening social media companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they fail to obey their censorship orders. Classic tyranny:pic.twitter.com/j64rCdZ82L— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 13, 2022
Journalist Glenn Greenwald reacted by posting a 2020 clip of Markey calling for increased social media censorship. “Here’s Senator Markey demanding tech companies censor in accordance with his political views, all in the context of his party threatening social media companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they fail to obey their censorship orders.”
Conservative commentators, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have argued that the ruling class is threatened by Musk because the billionaire has vowed to make Twitter a haven for free speech.