Eli Lilly latest high-profile casualty of Elon Musk’s Twitter verification mess

Eli Lilly Post an unusual message on Twitter yesterday. The drug giant has apologized for a misleading tweet in which someone posing as the company wrote, “We are excited to announce that insulin is free now.”

The company sells insulin, which is not free.

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Eli Lilly (real deal LillyPad) can thank the changes made to Twitter since Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of confusion. Scammers were easily able to create an official Twitter account – with a blue checkmark for the fake username “EliLillyandCo” – by paying $8 per month for Twitter Blue. The new subscription service, which was introduced under Musk, comes with a blue check pre-indicating that the accounts are legitimate.

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Hours after the fake post, Eli Lilly’s stock fell sharply. It’s not entirely clear how much the drop is related to the post. But likewise, Lockheed Martin’s stock fell after a fake account – again using Twitter Blue – said the company was halting arms sales in some countries.

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Game companies Nintendo and Valve have also been targeted by scammers using Twitter Blue, as have high-profile athletes, including NBA star LeBron James (pretending to ask for a deal) and major baseball pitcher Aroldis Chapman (claiming he signed a deal he didn’t).

Twitter Blue was unavailable on Friday after the wave of scam accounts.

Blue checks on Twitter under Musk

Before Musk took control of the platform, blue checks were used to identify legitimate accounts and were given out free to sources Twitter deemed reputable and trustworthy.

On November 5, Twitter announced its Twitter Blue service, saying in an update to its app on Apple iOS devices that users can receive a blue check mark next to their name “just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

This opened the door to scammers, who in the case of the Eli Lilly hoax phishing both drug companies and Twitter.

Pharmaceutical companies have faced pressure from the rising cost of insulin and other drugs. This helped pass the Inflation Control Act — President Joe Biden’s comprehensive health care, climate, and tax bill — including a provision that sets the cost of out-of-pocket insulin at $35 a month (for Medicare recipients at least).

Eli Lilly did not mention insulin or pricing in her explanatory note from her real Twitter account, simply writing, “We apologize to those who received a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is LillyPad.”

Eli Lilly faced more scams than another fake Twitter account, this one with “LillyPadCo” from the inside mentioned. She also pretended to be the company’s real account, and apologized for the fake first message, writing that Humalog, the diabetes drug Eli Lilly sells, “is now $400. We can do it whenever we want and there’s nothing you can do about it. It sucks.”

A spokesman for the pharmaceutical company said luck“We are deeply committed to ensuring that patients and customers have accurate information about our medications. In recent days, fake/satirical Twitter accounts of Lilly have transmitted false information and we are working to correct this situation.”

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