Herbalife has filed a petition in which it asks Twitter to provide information on the user behind the account.

The Twitter feed is run by an anonymous user who posts defamatory opinions about Herbalife. The petition for “discovery before suit” will allow the weight-loss and nutritional products manufacturer to identify the user and file a lawsuit against them, writes Supriya Kurane for Reuters.

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) Files Petition To Un-Mask "Defamatory" Twitter User

Herbalife seeking court order to reveal identity of Twitter user

Herbalife has asked Twitter to hand over information on the user behind the @AfueraHerbaLIES account, including their IP address and account details. The account has published content defaming the company and calling its management “thieves, pill pushing frauds and bullies.”

“The twitter feed of @AfueraHerbaLIES contains not only defamatory, disparaging, and deceptive posts about Herbalife and its products, but also contains numerous insulting and offensive statements about Herbalife’s management team, its members, and even federal regulators,” read a petition filed by the company in Illinois.

The tweets include accusations of the sale of toxic and unregulated products, and Herbalife claims that they prejudice the company in its trade and harm its reputation.

Herbalife has asked the court to assist in its search to unmask the user. Firstly it has asked the court to order Twitter to preserve material related to the matter, and secondly allow Herbalife to serve discovery on Twitter, including requests for documentation.

Ackman alleges that company runs a pyramid scheme

According to Twitter’s privacy policy, the social network will not release information on its users without a court order.

“This is pretty straightforward. We are not going to sit back and let someone make false and defamatory statements about our company,” said Herbalife spokesman Alan Hoffman.

Herbalife is no stranger to controversy, with billionaire investor William Ackman maintaining that the company is a fraud. He says that Herbalife is essentially a pyramid scheme in which salespeople earn more money by recruiting new participants rather than selling the products themselves. Herbalife has been forced to deny his allegations.

Should Herbalife be granted a court order against Twitter, it will be one step closer to shutting down an anonymous online critic.