Elon Musk‘s $8-a-month blue check mark subscription service is causing even more chaos as some companies have reported seeing their share value drop, losing billions, following tweets sent out by fake Twitter accounts.

The social media platform paused its recently announced service on Friday as fake accounts mushroomed, and new owner Musk brought back the ‘official’ badge to some users.

Fake accounts purporting to be big brands have popped up with the blue check since the new roll-out, including Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX, as well as Roblox, Nestle, Lockheed Martin and Eli Lilly.

But the damage was already done for some as stock prices dropped on Friday.  

Eli Lilly fell 4.5 percent Friday after a user tweeted from a verified account that looked like an official Lilly profile:  ‘We are excited to announce insulin is now free.’

The company’s capitalization also decreased by more than $7 billion. Lilly posted an apology from its real account and executives later ordered a halt to all Twitter ad campaigns, the Washington Post reported

The same day, Lockheed Martin fell 5.5 percent on Friday after a verified account set up to look like the firm tweeted: ‘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.’

Following the chaos on Friday, Musk tweeted on Sunday that Twitter will soon enable organizations to identify accounts associated with them.

Elon Musk’s $8 blue check mark is causing even more chaos as fake Twitter accounts are also now resulting in actual stock losses for some companies Eli Lilly and Lockheed Martin

Eli Lilly fell 4.5 percent Friday after a user tweeted from a verified account that looked like an official Lilly profile: 'We are excited to announce insulin is now free'

Eli Lilly fell 4.5 percent Friday after a user tweeted from a verified account that looked like an official Lilly profile: ‘We are excited to announce insulin is now free’

The company's capitalization also decreased by more than $7 billion. Lilly posted an apology from its real account and executives later ordered a halt to all Twitter ad campaigns

The company’s capitalization also decreased by more than $7 billion. Lilly posted an apology from its real account and executives later ordered a halt to all Twitter ad campaigns

‘Rolling out soon,’ Musk in a tweet on Sunday said. ‘Twitter will enable organizations to identify which other Twitter accounts are actually associated with them.’

The coveted blue check mark was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures. 

But a subscription option, open to anyone prepared to pay, was rolled out last week to help Twitter grow revenue as Musk fights to retain advertisers.

On Friday, Twitter suspended the ability to pay $8 a month for a blue check mark that denotes an official, verified account.

It came after the social media platform was flooded with impersonated accounts of notable people.

Musk had said the service ‘needs some tweaks, but overall proceeding well’.

And on Sunday, Musk in a tweet said that Twitter Blue will probably ‘come back end of next week’.

The verification system has been exploited by fake accounts impersonating a range of different brands and people since Musk took over. 

On Friday, Eli Lilly executives ordered a halt to all Twitter ad campaigns, the Washington Post reported. 

They also paused their Twitter publishing plan for all corporate accounts around the world.

Lockheed Martin fell 5.5 percent on Friday after a verified account set up to look like the firm tweeted: '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'

Lockheed Martin fell 5.5 percent on Friday after a verified account set up to look like the firm tweeted: ‘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’

Following the chaos on Friday, Musk tweeted on Sunday that Twitter will soon enable organizations to identify accounts associated with them

Following the chaos on Friday, Musk tweeted on Sunday that Twitter will soon enable organizations to identify accounts associated with them

‘For $8, they’re potentially losing out on millions of dollars in ad revenue,’ Amy O’Connor, a former senior communications official at Eli Lilly who now works at a trade association, told the Post. 

‘What’s the benefit to a company … of staying on Twitter? It’s not worth the risk when patient trust and health are on the line.’

Eli Lilly declined to reveal how much money it has spent on advertising with Twitter.

But it’s not the only billion-dollar company whose accounts have been copied.

An account claiming to be PepsiCo tweeted out: ‘Coke is better.’  

Nestle, which is Poland Springs parent company tweeted: ‘We steal your water and sell it back to you.’ 

An account claiming to be PepsiCo tweeted out: 'Coke is better'

An account claiming to be PepsiCo tweeted out: ‘Coke is better’

Nestle, which is Poland Springs parent company tweeted: 'We steal your water and sell it back to you'

Nestle, which is Poland Springs parent company tweeted: ‘We steal your water and sell it back to you’

Last week, an account claiming to be BP Global tweeted: 'Just cause we killed the planet doesn't mean we can't miss it'

Last week, an account claiming to be BP Global tweeted: ‘Just cause we killed the planet doesn’t mean we can’t miss it’

Musk’s companies SpaceX and Tesla were not even safe from fake accounts.   

The SpaceX account tweeted: ‘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.’

From a ‘verified’ Tesla Twitter account, someone tweeted: ‘honestly a 53% drop in stock price doesn’t [faze] us. If there’s anyone who knows about crashing it’s us.’

The Federal Trade Commission has warned that it’s following recent developments at Twitter ‘with concern’ and one of the company’s lawyers wrote on an internal messaging board that the social network could face billions in fines over violations of its consent decree with the US agency.

Despite the chaos, Musk wrote on Twitter that the number of active users on his platform were at an ‘all time high’. ‘Quite the day!’ he wrote, have said before: ‘Usage of Twitter continues to rise. One thing is for sure: it isn’t boring!’

Twitter suspended the ability to pay $8 for a blue check mark that denotes an official, verified account. But Musk on Sunday said Twitter Blue will probably 'come back end of next week'

Twitter suspended the ability to pay $8 for a blue check mark that denotes an official, verified account. But Musk on Sunday said Twitter Blue will probably ‘come back end of next week’

In another Tweet, Musk had posted: ‘Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.’

The Tesla CEO has controversially said he wants the blue tick to be available to all paying customers. He said opening the verification process up to more people will help democratize Twitter and cut down on the spam and bot accounts on the site.

But critics have said this opens the door to confusion, impersonation and the further spread of misinformation.

Musk tweeted late on Thursday that all parody accounts must have ‘parody’ in their username as an attempt to crack down on the confusion.

Several top security and privacy experts at the company have also resigned amid the controversial changes.

Meanwhile, Twitter has cut half of its workforce and Musk raised the possibility of the social media platform going bankrupt.

TIMELINE OF BILLIONAIRE ELON MUSK’S BID TO CONTROL TWITTER

January 31: Musk starts buying shares of Twitter in near-daily installments, amassing a 5% stake in the company by mid-March.

March 26: Musk, who has 80 million Twitter followers and is active on the site, said that he is giving ‘serious thought’ to building an alternative to Twitter, questioning free speech on the platform and whether Twitter is undermining democracy. He also privately reaches out to Twitter board members, including his friend and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

March 27: After privately informing them of his growing stake in the company, Musk starts conversations with Twitter’s CEO and board members about potentially joining the board. Musk also mentions taking Twitter private or starting a competitor, according to later regulatory filings.

April 4: A regulatory filing reveals that Musk has rapidly become the largest shareholder of Twitter after acquiring a 9% stake, or 73.5 million shares, worth about $3 billion.

April 5: Musk is offered a seat on Twitter’s board on the condition he amass no more than 14.9% of the company’s stock. CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet that ‘it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.’

April 11: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announces Musk will not be joining the board after all.

April 14: Twitter reveals in a securities filing that Musk has offered to buy the company outright for about $44 billion.

April 15: Twitter’s board unanimously adopts a ‘poison pill’ defense in response to Musk’s proposed offer, attempting to thwart a hostile takeover.

April 21: Musk lines up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter. Twitter board is under pressure to negotiate.

April 25: Musk reaches a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion and take the company private. The outspoken billionaire has said he wanted to own and privatize Twitter because he thinks it’s not living up to its potential as a platform for free speech.

April 29: Musk sells roughly $8.5 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help fund the purchase of Twitter, according to regulatory filings.

May 5: Musk strengthens his offer to buy Twitter with commitments of more than $7 billion from a diverse group of investors including Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

May 10: In a hint at how he would change Twitter, Musk says he’d reverse Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, calling the ban a ‘morally bad decision’ and ‘foolish in the extreme.’

May 13: Musk said that his plan to buy Twitter is ‘ temporarily on hold.’ Musk said that he needs to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform. Shares of Twitter tumble, while shares of Tesla rebound sharply.

June 6: Musk threatens to end his $44 billion agreement to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information about its spam bot accounts.

July 8: Musk tells Twitter he is terminating agreement because firm wouldn’t hand over information on spam bots 

July 12: Twitter files suit seeking a court judgement forcing Musk to complete the merger at the agreed price 

July 19: A Delaware judge says the Musk-Twitter legal dispute will go to trial in October

August 23: A former head of security at Twitter alleges the company misled regulators about its poor cybersecurity defenses and its negligence in attempting to root out fake accounts that spread misinformation. Musk eventually cites the whistleblower as a new reason to scuttle his Twitter deal

October 5: Musk offers to go through with his original proposal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Twitter says it intends to close the transaction after receiving Musk’s offer

October 6: Delaware judge delays October 17 trial until November and gives both sides until October 28 to reach agreement to close the deal

October 20: Musk told prospective Twitter investors that he plans to lay off 75% of the company’s 7,500 employees, according to The Washington Post

Wednesday, October 26: Musk posts a video of himself entering Twitter headquarters carrying a kitchen sink, indicating that the deal is set to go through

Thursday, October 27: Musk says Twitter won’t become a ‘free-for-all hellscape’ in a message he sent to advertisers

*Source: Associated Press 

 

 



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