June 17, 2024

Twitter HQ Sign Just Says ‘Er’ After Police Interruption Rebranding

Elon Musk changed Twitter’s name to just X and is doing everything possible to remove remnants of the old brand from the social media company’s headquarters in San Francisco. But the end of the Twitter brand hit an unexpected snag Monday afternoon: local police.

San Francisco police were called to Twitter’s headquarters Monday afternoon because the building’s owners were not notified that the sign was being changed, according to the San Francisco Standard. Musk previously attempted to change the sign to read “Titter,” another change that building owners were not happy about.

The workers were able to remove most of the letters, as you can see from the photo above, but the letters E and R are still there. Another sign facing the other side of the street appears to still have the full Twitter name unchanged. Twitter has occupied office space at 10th and Market Street in San Francisco since 2012 and it is unclear whether the building’s owners will allow the remaining Twitter branding to be removed.

Musk bought Twitter back in October 2022 and made many dramatic changes that caused the company’s valuation to drop. The billionaire fired thousands of people and is still fighting in court over severance packages former employees say they were promised. Musk also made the controversial decision to grant a form of amnesty to many Twitter users previously banned from the platform, including the likes of musician Kanye West, neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes and former President Donald Trump. Both West and Fuentes were banned after the hate was turned off, though Trump never rejoined the social media site.

Musk has also shown what can only be described as erratic behavior on the platform, and it appears he will announce major changes before they are ready to be implemented. For one example, Musk announced a program to share advertising revenue with creators back in February, claiming it would start that month, but he only launched that program in July. And it’s not quite up and running yet, reportedly paying only hand-picked creators on mostly far-right promoters, according to the Washington Post.

Musk’s vision for X is reportedly for a social media platform into the “everything app,” perhaps similar to WeChat used in China. The Chinese app handles messaging like Twitter but allows users to pay for services and organize events. But it remains to be seen whether X can expand into highly technical areas like banking if decisions are being made in such a slapdash fashion. Despite the very public branding change to X, most of the site still includes elements of the old branding. For one example, the search bar in the upper right corner still reads “Search Twitter.”

Twitter, while struggling to remain profitable before Musk took over, was a widely recognized brand that came to define many aspects of internet culture. And Musk seems to be throwing all that brand equity in the trash in an attempt to remake it into the brand he’s long been obsessed with. Analysts and brand agencies who spoke to Bloomberg consider getting rid of the Twitter brand likely to destroy anywhere $4 billion to $20 billion from the value of the company. That’s a significant drop when you remember that Fidelity estimated back in May that Twitter is only worth about $15 billion today.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last year.

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