Days of chaos continue
Fake tweet is costing Musk many millions of dollars
By Jan Ganger
11/15/2022, 1:11 PM
Twitter does not rest. While new boss Elon Musk wants to drive users to a subscription model, advertisers are walking away. Now it’s enough for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.
A short tweet is very expensive for Elon Musk. “We are pleased to announce that insulin is now free,” tweeted an account featuring the logo of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. The tweet sparked a huge response and sparked real panic among Eli Lilly, according to the Washington Post. Because the eagerly shared message was wrong.
The Twitter account was adorned with a verification checkmark, which for years confirmed the authenticity of the accounts of celebrities, politicians and companies on the social network. But then Musk took over Twitter and introduced a new way to monetize it almost overnight. His idea: if you take out a subscription for eight dollars a month, you get a tag – without an identity check. This icon looks the same as on officially verified accounts. Only when you click on it can you see if the check mark is only there because the user paid for it.
What had to happen happened. Suddenly, Twitter was flooded with fake celebrity and corporate accounts emblazoned with blue verification marks. An account allegedly used by Chiquita announced that the company had overthrown the Brazilian government.
When the insulin tweet went viral, the leaders of the $338 billion pharmaceutical company tried to reach someone on Twitter to have the fake tweet removed. Eli Lilly feared reputational damage and thought it was possible that false information could be spread through the account, putting patients at risk.
However, according to the Washington Post, Twitter did not respond for hours. Shortly after the $44 billion acquisition, Musk had half of its employees fired by email to cut costs. Eli Lilly apologized to his approximately 130,000 followers for the fake, which did not disappear until much later.
Eli Lilly keeps his distance
The company, with an annual turnover of more than $ 28 billion, then took action and announced that it would immediately stop advertising on Twitter. Eli Lilly didn’t say how much money the company spends on Twitter. According to estimates, the social network will likely lose several million dollars in revenue. In the US alone, the pharmaceutical giant spends around $100 million a year on TV advertising and digital campaigns.
This is bad news for Musk. Because before Eli Lilly, many large companies distanced themselves from Twitter and stopped their advertising activities there. They fear that hate speech and disinformation will increase under Musk’s leadership and do not want to book any more ads in such an environment.
Twitter relies heavily on ad revenue. This was compounded by the acquisition, which saw Musk transfer $13 billion in loans to Twitter. The debt service alone costs the unprofitable company about a billion dollars a year.
Meanwhile, Musk threatens to bankrupt Twitter and threatens a “thermonuclear” response to the breakaway companies. This reinforces their decision rather than persuading them to return. The step is not difficult for them because Twitter plays a relatively small role in online advertising. The lion’s share of the budget goes to Facebook and Google.