In efforts to rebrand Twitter into X, Elon Musk's company abruptly took control of the @X handle from a long-time user who had used it since the early days after the social media platform first launched.
Until Tuesday evening, the username belonged to Gene X Hwang, a photographer from San Francisco. Hwang told NBC News he's had the handle since 2007 and racked up more than 50,000 followers since. When asked if he received anything in exchange, Hwang said he got an email offering him X merchandise and a trip to the company's headquarters.
The email also told him he could pick from a number of inactive or unclaimed usernames. In the meantime, Hwang's handle has been changed to the much longer @x12345678998765.
Musk, who bought Twitter in October for $44 billion, announced over the weekend that the company was rebranding the social media site, ditching its iconic blue bird logo and original Twitter name in the process. He also said the online domain X.com now directs users to twitter.com, and even hinted at changing the platform's permanent color scheme to black.
Change default platform color to black
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 23, 2023
Musk has long been a fan of the letter X. Since the 1999 launch of his online banking platform X.com — now known as PayPal — there's been SpaceX, Tesla's Model X vehicle and the birth of his son, X Æ A-Xii. After purchasing Twitter, he merged it into X Corp., a new subsidiary company of his X Holdings Corp., and just about two weeks ago, he launched his artificial intelligence company, xAI Corp.
Recently appointed X CEO Linda Yaccarino seemed confident in the Twitter rebrand, and said there is "absolutely no limit" to how far the transformation will go.
"For years, fans and critics alike have pushed Twitter to dream bigger, to innovate faster, and to fulfill our great potential," she said on the social media site. "X will do that and more. We've already started to see X take shape over the past 8 months through our rapid feature launches, but we're just getting started."
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