How $8 and a fake twitter account just lost Pharma $15 Billion in a day
The power of media and distribution. And why it matters
Media and distribution are, really, the ultimate source of power.
It’s something politicians, leaders, big pharma, and advertisers, have known, maximised, and perhaps, manipulated for far too long…
But this week - a pharma company found itself the victim of the media game.
If you somehow missed it, Twitter, the “free speech” platform was recently bought by Billionaire and ultimate biz influencer Elon Musk. And with that, came some big changes.
The biggest - you can now “buy” verification for just $8. For those wondering what verification is - it is usually reserved for celebrities, public figures, organisations and journalists to confirm legitimacy in the form of a shiny blue tick. So this meant now literally, every man, his dog, and his hundreds of bots can now be “legit”. LOL.
Which led to this…
Someone made an imposter account of Eli Lilly and Company, a giant pharma company, and paid US$8 to get “verified”
They then tweeted that “Insulin is now free” from said “fake” verified account
The real behemoth, who charges hundreds of dollars for a vial of insulin (and has faced lash back from it), making a reported US$28.3Bn in revenue in 2021 - saw its stock price plummet, a total of 4.37% at its worst - wiping US$15Bn in value from the Market Cap. In. A. Day.
All from a lil tweet…
Of course, the real Eli Lilly then had to issue an apology for the confusion.
Which is frankly hilarious. But also, being real - a little scary.
It’s a great example of just how much power social media, a few individuals and corporations hold over us. Whilst demonstrating just how floored and flipping unstable these so-called “systems” and foundations are upon which all of us, society, business and healthcare, operate.
I.e. - Us humans be crazy yo
“Normal” healthcare, for whatever reason, has arguably neglected, or not really gotten in the game with mainstream media for far too long. Understandably, with fears of backlash. Or legal action and such.
It’s been slowly getting better, with TikTok docs, influencer health professionals and the likes slowly coming through.
But, I’d argue it’s something that the health profession, especially in Australia, still pays far too little attention to.
And now, after a series of somewhat Media and PR disasters (cough *Media attack on GPs defrauding Medicare and COVID anyone*) we can’t exactly look away any longer…
The industry needs to reassess and look seriously at investing in some new, and stronger strategies in this space. After all, media, advertising and education really control more health outcomes than almost any other thing. Apart from potentially, postcode. But even then, those factors contribute largely to the heart of that issue too.
We are what we consume…
💡 Anyway, here are a few takeaways from this week’s shenanigans
Media, and Social Media - are obscenely, and scarily, powerful
With a disproportionate effect on what and who we believe. Along with health and business outcomes. Arguably, far more than traditional news and journalism
Distribution is an unfair advantage
Markets are often highly irrational and emotional in nature - and so too are investments and investor behaviour
Words, and what you say matter - they always do and wield a crazy amount of power, but especially at scale
In a world where we’re more online than ever, it’s becoming harder to tell where reality starts and ends
Medical misinformation and misinformation around healthcare is rife - And we’re all exposed to it every darn day, whether we know it or not. This is just one tiny example we can easily see. But this is the type of stuff which we all operate off and base our decisions upon, consciously and unconsciously every day
Elon Musk may single-handedly destroy Twitter, and the world - ok, I’m being dramatic but who knows at this point
PS - After this debacle, and thousands of accounts impersonating Elon himself and other actual brands, Twitter blue and verification are having yet another overhaul (ie crisis). And it is now “illegal” on Twitter to impersonate someone without stating “Parody” in your name.
Just 2 weeks after the acquisition was celebrated by this statement…
Anyway. Great little LOL. Great lesson. But seriously… somewhat concerning 😂 🙃
And why we need more investment in good health media, content and distribution.
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