The Twitter user who had the @x handle for more than 16 years has reportedly had it taken by Elon Musk’s Twitter its “X’ rebrand, without anyone asking and with no financial compensation.
On Sunday (23 July) the billionaire owner announced Twitter would be rebranded as ‘X’, with the site’s famous blue bird logo subsequently replaced with a simple X and the new web address – x.com – which redirects users to the old Twitter site.
The move quickly became the source of memes and wide ridicule from users over X’s messy launch, which has seen the company’s now-obsolete former name and bird logo still in use across the site.
The haphazard rebranding also saw the brand’s unofficial accounts unable to change their handles from @twitter because another user had already claimed @x.
Speaking with Mashable, Gene X. Hwang – co-founder of event photo company Orange Photography and owner of the @x handle since 2007 – said he initially did not hear anything from Elon Musk or the social media company’s team prior to the rebanding or immediately after it was announced.
However, just a day later Hwang said he received an email from the generic firstname.lastname@example.org email address “basically saying they are taking it”.
According to Hwang, he was offered “an alternative handle with the history of the @x account” which as of Thursday (27 July) is the very random handle @x12345678998765.
Following the company taking back his username, he tweeted: “Alls well that ends well.”
A tweet – or xeet – as Elon Musk would now like us to call it, which gained more than 10,000 retweets (or would that be rexeets?) and 113,000 likes (xikes?).
Despite not being given any financial compensation, Hwang said he was offered “some merch and to meet with management”, if he likes.
“Probably will not take them up on the offer to meet though,” he told Mashable journalist Matt Binder.
Twitter’s rebrand has not been a success
Following Twitter’s rebrand, Linda Yaccarino – the site’s chief executive – said the goal of X is “unlimited activity”, which will see it become a “platform that can deliver, well, everything… Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine”.
However the platform that aims to be everything is struggling to do, well, anything in its rebrand.
When workers began to remove the ‘Twitter’ name from outside the company’s headquarters San Francisco police were called to reportedly stop the “unauthorised” move due to Elon Musk not seeking the correct permissions to do so.
Leaving the job incomplete, photos quickly circulated on social media with only the letters ‘er’ left on the side of the building.
It was also widely reported the name change wiped billions off of the company’s stock, with experts warning the name change for such an iconic brand would significantly impact brand awareness for consumers.
“Any company would kill to have the brand recognition Twitter had for almost two decades, Ahmed Baba the co-founder and president of Rantt said.
“Tweet” is literally a verb in the dictionary. It seems like self-sabotage to throw away well-known branding while competitors are seeking to take your users. We’ll see how X plays out.”
PinkNews has contacted Twitter – now X – for comment.