Impersonated identities, loss of several billion dollars due to false publications, advertisers removed… The first days of Elon Musk on Twitter worried the advertising community, on which the social network depends.
Elon Musk has a big problem: himself. Wanting to destroy everything on Twitter as soon as he arrived, the billionaire activated a dangerous mechanism for the future of his social network. Twitter, which depends almost exclusively on its advertising revenue, is phasing out advertisers.
It’s long been thought that advertisers would flee if Twitter went too far in terms of lack of moderation… But in the end, two other decisions by Musk were enough to scare them away. The end of identity verification and the sale of certified badges for 8 dollars per month caused a huge damage for certain brands who, logically, no longer want to do business with the social network… even if it means its fall.
$20 billion in losses from $8 tweets
Eli Lilly and Company is undoubtedly the best illustration of current tensions. This pharmaceutical group, which specializes in the production of insulin, is regularly criticized for the business it has done in the United States, which favors profit above all else.
A parody account, which bought certification for 8 dollars, pretended to be Eli Lilly and announced that insulin would now be offered for free, as in many other countries (this is what some elected officials want in particular Democrats, such as Bernie Sanders who made this campaign promise).
In the immediate aftermath, the Eli Lilly action collapsed. Investors, more concerned about their bank accounts than the health of the American people, sold off their shares heavily. Eli Lilly’s valuation dropped by $20 billion, because of a little parody tweet (play money, since it’s just a valuation). On her real Twitter, Eli Lilly apologized, saying she only has an official account.
What is Elon Musk’s reaction? The answer will surprise you. The billionaire decided to give a history lesson on insulin price variation… based on completely false data. Twitter’s community verification system did not hesitate to tell the owner of the social network that he was on the wrong track.
Parody, Elon Musk’s big problem
Eli Lilly is not an isolated case. If the first fake accounts were able to say anything with the certified badge on the platform, now it’s the companies that are worried. Many fake accounts cause damage to brands, especially by publicly exposing their past bad deeds or by organizing fake data hacking contests. Many play on the similarity between capital i (I) and lowercase L (l) to create perfectly fake nicknames. As a result, major advertising groups, such as Omnicom (Apple, McDonalds), have recommended that their customers suspend their advertising campaigns on Twitter.
What is Elon Musk’s reaction? When he is not under provocation (we have in mind his answer to a senator who complains about his pretensions, to which Musk replied that his real account appeared to be a parody), the billionaire seems to be aware of the problem, but mostly accuses leftist movements of hurting him. While waiting for calm to return, he announced three changes:
- The return of the gray certified logo with the mention “Official”but only for brands for now.
- The upcoming arrival of a “Parody” mention under verified accounts impersonating a brand.
- The possibility for a brand to self-verify its other accountsjust to prevent an orphan account from pretending to be linked.
As a reminder, all these problems could have been avoided if Elon Musk had not decided to sell the certification for 8 dollars per month, when it once required identity verification by an expert team. Therefore, the billionaire put sticks … in his own wheels.
SpaceX to save Twitter
While waiting for a return to normalcy, Elon Musk is doing Elon Musk. SpaceX, its aerospace company, has reportedly invested $250,000 in Twitter ads… no doubt just to cover some losses. What better than Elon Musk’s money to save Elon Musk’s fortune?