Pharma giants ditch Twitter after fake Eli Lilly tweet

After one fake tweet about Eli Lilly offering insulin for free went viral and the company's shares plunged, 12 of the 18 biggest drugmakers that advertise on Twitter have cut their spending to $0, Endpoints News reported Nov. 21. 

The fake Eli Lilly account tweeted Nov. 10, and by the time Twitter took it down, the drugmaker lost about $22 billion. As of Nov. 14, a dozen pharmaceutical companies pulled their advertising from the platform, including Merck, Pfizer, Novartis and Eli Lilly, according to advertiser database Pathmatics. All continue to have a Twitter account, though. 

The only company to not follow the trend was Germany-based Bayer, which hiked up its spending that week by plugging $480,000 into its Twitter ads, the data showed. 

"We continue to monitor developments at Twitter and regularly assess our position," Bayer told Endpoint News. "We do not release our advertising spend."

Although drugmakers do not spend much advertising money on the app, Twitter faces a turbulent future amid questions of its power to moderate content.

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