Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts had complained to the world’s richest person that a Washington Post reporter had created a fake but verified account in his name on the social media platform.
And when he got a flippant response from the entrepreneur he warned him that Congress would “fix” his companies if he would not.
Twitter’s new $8-per-month verification system has been paused after a raft of corporations, celebrities, politicians and athletes had fake accounts made in their names.
“A (Washington Post) reporter was able to create a verified account impersonating me—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,” complained Mr Markey, who is a Democrat.
But his complaint was roundly mocked by Mr Musk, who closed a chaotic $44bn deal for the San Francisco-based company last month.
“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?” replied Mr Musk on Twitter.
And he also took time to poke fun at Mr Markey’s profile picture. “And why does your pp have a mask!?” he added.
Mr Markey was seemingly unimpressed at the response.
“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,” he told the billionaire.
It was quickly pointed out to the Tesla and SpaceX boss that Mr Markey sits on the Senate Subcommittee on Communication, Media and Broadband, as well as the Subcommittee on Space and Science.
“Are you suggesting the Senator will abuse his political power to attack me?” he replied.
The FTC, which is the US consumer protection agency, said in a statement last week that it has watched Mr Musk’s takeover of Twitter with “deep concern” after a string of top safety and data protection executives left the company.
Joe Biden has also said that he believes that Mr Musk’s ties to foreign countries should be “looked at.”
The president was asked about the businessman’s financial and commercial connections to the likes of China and Saudi Arabia and whether he viewed the South African-born billionaire as a threat to American security.
“I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at, whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate – I’m not suggesting that, I’m suggesting it’s worth being looked at. That’s all I’ll say,” replied Mr Biden during a press conference on Wednesday.