Before being suspended last night, Elon Musk’s idea of an $8 blue check subscription service on Twitter created a mess on Wall Street with at least two stocks losing billions of dollars in market capitalisation.

Aerospace company Lockheed Martin and pharma major Eli Lilly and Company were both victims of impersonation on the social media platform.

An impostor account registered under the revamped Twitter Blue system tweeted Thursday that the drugmaker would provide free insulin free of cost. Eli Lilly’s stock tumbled more than 5% on Friday and was still down more than 4% at the close. The company lost over $15 billion in market cap as a result of the mischievous tweet.

Similarly, Lockheed Martin shares also ended 5.5% down after an imposter said the company will begin halting all weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US until further investigation into their record of human rights abuses.

After a number of such fake accounts with blue tick verification labels were discovered, Twitter halted its premium service which was made available to anyone willing to pay $8 a month. Earlier, the blue tick was reserved for government entities, corporations, celebrities, journalists and other public figures for free before Musk’s takeover of the social media platform.

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, and Lockheed Martin.

“To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts,” Twitter’s support account – which has the “official” tag – tweeted on Friday.

The label was originally introduced on Wednesday – but “killed” by Musk just hours later.

(With inputs from agencies)


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