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Twitter recently made it possible to get a verification check added to an account by just paying 8 dollars, causing a rash of fake 'verified' accounts. One of these accounts was for Eli Lilly, a company that provides life saving medication at generally high prices. The fake account claimed that Eli Lily would be providing insulin to everyone for free, a tweet that got spread virally and which lead to a very noticeable drop in stock price for the real company.

The news has implied Twitter would face serious repercussions for this, but I'm curious what their actual legal status is. I thought the law protected social media providers from what their users said, is the fact that Twitter allowed a verified check somehow make twitter more liable? Could Eli Lilly actually sue Twitter for enabling their customer to do something harmful like this?

Separate from the risk of being sued I believe twitter is under at least two orders from the FTC that may have been violated and thus may lead to penalties?

Basically what is Twitter actual liability for this tweet, and what are the odds of actual financial cost to twitter-in terms of penalties and fees not loss of customer or advertisers- as a result of this tweet? How much could they face to lose?

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  • Is Twitter itself under orders from the FTC (news to me) or is it specifically Musk (who had orders from the FTC, even before his ownership of Twitter was in the picture)?
    – sharur
    Nov 14 at 17:31
  • In order to seek damages, you would need to establish a causal relationship to the drop in stock price. Probably unlikely given the numerous possible other explanations of why it performed poorly on that particular day.
    – AlanSTACK
    Nov 14 at 18:13
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    @AlanSTACK I understand that problem, but even if they could create a casual relationship could they sue? I know there is a law that gives protection for social media companies from things their customers post, don't remember the name right now, so I was wondering if they could be sued even if a relationship could be proven
    – dsollen
    Nov 14 at 18:28
  • @sharur Twitter has them. I'm far from an expert in this stuff, but here is what I believe to be one of the agreements:ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/cases/2010/06/… I think there was a second one, according to some news reports I read, but quick googling didn't find it and I'm too out of my depth to know a good way of hunting it down.
    – dsollen
    Nov 14 at 18:32
  • This article refers to a more recent agreement, not sure where the actual text of that agreement are though: techcrunch.com/2022/05/25/…
    – dsollen
    Nov 14 at 18:35

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