Elon Musk Has Responded To Twitter Complaints By Picking A Childish Fight With A Senator Who Could Do Him Some Real Damage

Elon Musk is the richest person on the planet — for now — which may be why he’s been so cavalier about how he runs the biggest social media service on the planet. Right now Twitter is a mess. Bigoted slurs spiked as soon as he took over. Advertisers and users are fleeing en masse. Then there’s that whole new blue checkmark debacle, which has led to impersonations that are already costing other companies billions — and may cost Twitter billions, too. How is Musk responding to this nightmare? By picking fights with people who shouldn’t.

The Washington Post recently ran a piece in which reporter Geoffrey A. Fowler created fake accounts of comedian Blaire Eskine and Senator Ed Markey (with their permission, of course). Doing so, Fowler reported, was disturbingly easy. Markey was livid, and demanded Musk “explain how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.”

But instead of fixing the problem, Musk simply mocked Markey.

“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” he replied. Markey was not amused.

“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,” Markey wrote. “Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”

Musk may not be quaking in his boots, but he should be. As Rolling Stone notes, Markey sits on a lot of committees that regulate how he runs his businesses:

The senator sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is on numerous subcommittees that have oversight not only into Twitter but also two other Musk-owned companies, SpaceX and Tesla. Markey is a member of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Communication, Media and Broadband, as well as the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security, both of which could investigate Twitter. He is also on the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports. That subcommittee has oversight into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is currently investigating Tesla over the safety of its autopilot feature. And Markey sits on the Subcommittee on Space and Science, which has oversight over SpaceX.

What’s more, the Democrats just held Congress from the Republicans’ failed “red wave.”

Musk tried to play it cool. In response to another person, who listed some of the committees Markey is on, he wrote, “Are you suggesting the Senator will abuse his political power to attack me?”

This is likely far from over, but it’s probably not great that he’s trying to make people think lawmakers holding him responsible for his actions is the same as an “attack.”

(Via Rolling Stone and The Washington Post)