After Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, launched the $8 Twitter Blue subscription service, numerous users bought it, as a result of which a blue check mark started appearing alongside their account names. While Musk hinted at the fact this service would reduce the number of bots and impersonators on the microblogging platform, the opposite appears to have happened ever since the service was made available. Recently, two Twitter accounts claiming to be the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly took an undue advantage of Twitter Blue. The fake accounts made false tweets on insulin, and a day after this, Eli Lilly’s stock share price fell.
A Twitter account with the user name @EliLillyandCo posted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now”, according to a Forbes report.
Many people thought the claim is true because the account had a blue tick near its name when it tweeted about free insulin. But the reason the account had a blue check mark is that it had subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Since more than seven million people in the United States take insulin each day for diabetes, the idea of getting the hormone for free was appealing to many.
The real account of Eli Lilly tried to clear the confusion later that day by tweeting, “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.”
We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.
— Eli Lilly and Company (@LillyPad) November 10, 2022
However, some people did not believe the tweet by the original account of Eli Lilly. A Twitter user questioned Eli Lilly about why it was claiming that the tweet about free insulin came from a fake account, and stated that the tweet was sent via a verified account. The user asked, “Are you lying to us?”
Why are you claiming it was a fake account? The tweet was sent via a verified account. Are you lying to us?
— Introverted Oregano (official parody of a parody) (@Oregano_Is_Life) November 10, 2022
This shows that some users can avail Twitter Blue to spread misinformation. Since the service allows anyone to have a blue tick, it can be misleading to some people, who may confuse a fake account for a real one.
Another account impersonating Eli Lilly, with the user name @LillyPadCo, tweeted that Humalog is now $400, according to a report by the Insider. Humalog is the brand name for Insulin lispro, a modified type of medical insulin used to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The fake account also wrote, ‘Suck it’, something which is not common for pharmaceutical companies to say, unless they are talking about cough drops, according to the Forbes report.
How to check if a Twitter account is authentic
Earlier, Twitter account holders had to undergo certain steps to apply for verification. If they were found to meet the required criteria, Twitter rewarded them with the verified symbol. Musk changed Twitter’s blue check mark policy starting November 5, with the Twitter Blue subscription service.
However, if one really wants to check the authenticity of an account with a blue tick, they should click on the check mark. If one sees the message ‘This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category’, it means the account was verified because it fulfilled all the required criteria. For Twitter Blue users, the following message appears: ‘This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue’.
However, since November 11, Twitter Blue subscription service was discontinued, and people were no longer able to buy it, media reports said.
Eli Lilly’s stock share price dropped by 4.37 per cent
A day after the fake tweets on insulin were made, Eli Lilly’s stock share price dropped by 4.37 per cent or declined by $16.08 to $352.30, the Forbes report said, citing a tweet by political activist Rafael Shimunov.
Did Twitter Blue tweet just cost Eli Lilly $LLY billions?
— Rafael Shimunov is on Mastodon (@rafaelshimunov) November 11, 2022
He said that Twitter Blue tweet cost Eli Lilly billions of dollars.
A podcaster named Robert Evans wrote, “it cost some hero $8 to evaporate billions in Eli Lilly stock value. Elon accidentally created one of the most cost effective anti capitalist tools in history”.
it cost some hero $8 to evaporate billions in Eli Lilly stock value. Elon accidentally created one of the most cost effective anti capitalist tools in history.
— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) November 11, 2022
However, it is not clear if the fake tweets were responsible for the drop in Eli Lilly’s stock share price, the report said. This is because there are several factors which can affect a company’s stock price.
Coming to Twitter Blue, Musk tweeted on Sunday that the subscription service is coming back probably at the end of the next week.