Hoaxers taking advantage of Twitter’s new loosened rules for getting “verified” accounts have flooded the app with fake messages from celebrities and corporations, apparently slamming the stock prices of Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) in the process.
Lilly (LLY) fell some 4.5% Friday after someone used a verified account designed to look like the firm’s official social-media channel to tweet: “We are excited to announce insulin is now free.”
The posting not only took down the pharma firm’s stock price, but also apparently hit those of rival insulin makers Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Sanofi (SNY) as well. Lilly (LLY) eventually had to use its genuine Twitter account to repudiate the fake tweet.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin (LMT) fell 5.5% on Friday, seemingly in part due to a bogus “verified” account purporting to disclose: “We will begin halting all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States until further investigation into their record of human rights abuses. #WeAreLM.”
Other fake messages using “verified” accounts designed to look official included an alleged message from PepsiCo (PEP) that “Coke is better.” Meanwhile, Poland Springs parent Nestle (OTCPK:NSRGY) appeared to admit that “We steal your water and sell it back to you.”
Spoofers even used fake “verified” accounts to post hoax messages that appeared to come from other companies that new Twitter owner Elon Musk heads.
For example, a fake SpaceX account seemed to disclose that “it is with a heavy heart that we announce that we will be ceasing all missions. We plan to funnel $240 million in overstanding government subsidies to groups dedicated to sustainable agriculture and ending World Hunger.”
Hoaxers also tweeted from multiple seemingly verified accounts for Musk’s flagship company Tesla (TSLA). One missive poked fun at TSLA’s steep share-price decline since October 2021, writing that “honestly a 53% drop in stock price doesn’t [faze] us. If there’s anyone who knows about crashing it’s us.”
Users have also sent joke tweets in recent days from “verified” accounts that claimed to represent President Joe Biden, former Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush, Pope Francis and even Jesus.
Such problems have apparently prompted Twitter to quietly remove its new option of offering verified accounts to those who simply pay $7.99-a-month for Twitter Blue accounts instead of going through the firm’s previous elaborate process of confirming users’ identities.
Musk introduced the new $7.99-a-month option shortly after he last month closed his $44B deal to take Twitter private. The billionaire has since reportedly warned that the social-media giant is losing money and could fall into bankruptcy unless revenues rise.
Seeking Alpha contributor Valuentum argued in a recent column that Twitter’s woes “could serve as a distraction” for Musk’s oversight Tesla (TSLA). But Valuentum laid out a “Buy” case for the stock nonetheless.