Fake Eli Lilly Twitter Account Claims Insulin Is Free, Stock Falls 4.37% – IGWIIKI

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This news “blue” folks away on Thursday so to speak. That day, the Twitter account @EliLillyandCo posted, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” At the time, that account had one of those blue check marks next to its name suggesting that Twitter had already verified its authenticity as the real deal, the real Eli Lilly and Company. Doling out free insulin may have sounded like great news for the over seven million people in the U.S. who take insulin regularly each day for diabetes. After all, free is a pretty darn good price for a medication that has shot up in price over the past decade up to over $1000 per month for some who don’t have health insurance.

Well, the whole thing didn’t quite check out eventually. It turns that @EliLillyandCo was actually a fake Eli Lilly account. The real Eli Lilly and Company Twitter account, @LillyPad, tried to clear the air later that day because the pharmaceutical company wasn’t about to give away its product for free:

So how then did @EliLillyandCo get the blue check if it wasn’t the real deal? Well, since billionaire Elon Musk closed the $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter on October 28, there’s been some ch-ch-changes. Most of the previous leadership has gone the way of a bunch of potatoes, meaning they were sacked by Musk. He’s also laid off like half the Twitter work force because he could. And on November 5, Twitter, fresh under Musk, changed its blue check mark policy via a subscription service called Twitter Blue. Before you had to, you know, actually provide proof that you are legitimately who you claim to be to get a blue check mark next to your name. The new Twitter blue service instead allowed you or any other person or bot to get a blue check simply if you were willing to pay $8 a month. So, if you wanted to claim that you were a Professor of Hot Dogs, PhD, you could along with a blue Twitter check mark to support your claim, as long as you could dish out $8 a month. Same would apply if someone wanted to claim they were you and claim they were blue. Talk about putting up legitimacy for sale.

Yeah, file that Musk-y decision under the didn’t quite think it through or didn’t think it blue category. Soon after Twitter Blue, a number of fake accounts secured blue check marks and took their blue to try to wreak havoc. For example, a fake Lockheed Martin account claimed that the company was stopping weapons sales in certain countries, and a fake LeBron James account claimed that the NBA star was requesting a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, a Twitter-verified account pretending to be former U.S. President George W. Bush with the handle @GeorgeWBushs that tweeted, “I miss killing Iraqis” along with a sad-face emoji. Then there was O.J., or rather a fake O.J. Simpson account, @ThaReal0J32, which tweeted what appeared to be a confession before getting deleted. This fake account used a “Tha” rather the “the” used by the real O.J. Simpson account,@TheReal0J32, which, by the way, has yet to get a Twitter blue check mark. In other words, a fake O.J. Simpson account got a blue check mark before the real one even did.

The handle @EliLillyandCo wasn’t the only account impersonating Eli Lilly and Company by securing that previously coveted blue check mark from Twitter. There was another “padded” account, namely @LillyPadCo, which managed to tweet, “Humalog is now $400. We can do this whenever we want and there’s nothing you can do about it. Suck it,” according to Pete Syme writing for the Insider. The giveaway was that it’s not that common for pharmaceutical companies to say, “suck it,” unless they are talking about cough drops. Imagine what would have happened had @EliLillyandCo and @LillyPadCo been a bit more subtle about tweeting out disinformation that appeared more right on blue.

Incidentally, the day after the fake Eli Lilly accounts had issued their fake insulin tweets, Eli Lilly’s stock share price tumbled by 4.37% or $16.08 down to $352.30 as blue check-marked creative and political activist Rafael Shimunov pointed out:

And podcaster Robert Evans, who didn’t have a blue check mark and thus either isn’t really Robert Evans or didn’t want to pay $8, tweeted:

Were the fake Twitter accounts responsible for the drop in share price? Hard to say. Lot’s o’ things can affect a company’s stock price. Heck, the share price for GameStop shot up in 2021 after folks on Reddit and other online forums noticed that hedge funds were placing multi-billion dollar short trades against the company. Online investors then began investing in the company to push GameStop shares from around $17 up to over $500 to presumably “stock block” the hedge funds shorting the stock. Regardless, @LillyPad having to offer an “apology” for the actions of a fake account suggested that such impersonation left Eli Lilly and Company rather blue, meaning not that happy.

You could say that Musk “blue” it by putting Twitter’s blue verification check mark up for sale. Charging $8 a month for a blue check mark probably is not going make much of dent into Twitter’s debt. At the same time, it was sort of a bleep you to everyone who has proven that they were legitimate owners of their Twitter accounts over the years. It opened the doors for even more misinformation and disinformation on Twitter as well. Plus, it could potentially even prevent billionaires from making even more money:

Now, Musk wouldn’t want to hurt billionaires would he?

If you were Eli Lilly or O.J. Simpson and had called Twitter this past week to inquire about the Twitter-verified fake accounts, it’s not clear who you may have gotten on the line. That’s because Musk apparently gutted Twitter’s communications department, as author Molly Knight tweeted:

Hmm, not having a comms department after making a major change in the account verification system is not exactly a recipe for success, sad face emoji. Or maybe poop emoji. It certainly didn’t deserve an eggplant emoji. That’s a bit like eating a prune-flax seed-bean casserole surprise with coffee without checking to make sure a bathroom is available and stocked with toilet paper.

So, no, insulin hasn’t gone the way of napkins at restaurants. Eli Lilly and Company is not offering the medication for free. Quite the opposite, according to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who emphasized that the company has raised the price of insulin by over 1200% since 1996:

It may be amazing what $8 can buy you on Twitter, but it probably won’t buy you much insulin.

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