Elon Musk poked fun at Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on Twitter after the Democrat demanded to know why a Washington Post reporter was able to create a verified account impersonating him.
"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," Markey tweeted Friday, with a screenshot of his letter to Musk on the matter. "Twitter must explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again."
In his letter, Markey said the reporter was able to create the fake account and get verified by paying $8 under Musk's new rules. The senator blasted the new process as "lax" and "unacceptable."
Musk, the billionaire tech mogul who recently purchased Twitter, replied on Sunday, suggesting that the reason someone impersonated Markey's account is that his real one "sounds like a parody."
Musk followed up by asking why Markey's profile picture showed him wearing a mask.
Several pundits and progressives blasted Musk for the retort.
"He’s an elected official with constituents," former Ohio Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner tweeted, "This isn’t a game, dude."
"Always risky to attack members of congress. Especially risky with Dems assured of Senate power. Curious play by Musk here. He has many interests before Congress," Politico's Sam Stein mused.
Senior CNN political analyst Ronald Brownstein echoed the sentiment of many liberal pundits that Musk appears to be on a "right-wing" crusade.
"For only $8 a month, you can help support the lifestyle of a struggling South African billionaire who’s using his newly purchased platform to mock Democrats in the United States Congress," Keith Boykin said.
Musk has been making some major changes at the social media platform, including the firing of several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and head of legal policy, trust, and safety Vijaya Gadde. Users can also now purchase verification for $8 per month.
In his letter, Markey demanded details on the "process" for issuing paid-for blue checkmark verifications, how it differed from the free verification process that preceded it, and how the Washington Post reporter in question was able to obtain verification of a fake account.
The senator also slammed Musk in a follow-up tweet.
"One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree," Markey said. "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."