Twitter, the popular social media app bought by billionaire Elon Musk last October is rebranding. In April, the company renamed itself from Twitter Inc. to X Corp., and in July, Musk made a series of tweets announcing his intentions to change Twitter’s name and logo. The new name for Twitter is X, and the logo is a white stylized X on a black background. Despite creating it in 1999, Musk had to buy the domain x.com from PayPal because he sold it in 2002. The website name has not changed yet, although x.com now redirects to twitter.com. Musk has made some progress, but the renaming process has not gone as smoothly as he might have hoped. For instance, the police were called to X’s headquarters in San Francisco and halted the removal of Twitter signs because of unauthorized construction. This change is the biggest in the long saga of sudden alterations made by the new owner Musk. After buying it for 44 billion dollars last year, Musk has changed a lot about the company.
Upon purchasing Twitter, Musk laid off 6,000 people, more than 75% of the entire company’s workforce. These layoffs and Musk’s insistence that Twitter’s moderation system was “too woke” immediately resulted in hate speech usage increasing by 5600%. Besides the layoffs, Musk also changed the verification system on the platform. A blue checkmark on Twitter used to only be attainable if Twitter recognized you as a celebrity, but since Musk launched Twitter Blue in December, a monthly subscription grants the status to anyone for the price of eight dollars a month. You also have to give your phone number, and soon there may be a requirement to upload a picture of government identification. The reason for all these drastic shifts is that Musk hopes to turn X into an “everything app” and “bid adieu to the Twitter brand.” In a tweet, Musk said that he chose the letter X “To embody the imperfections in us all that make us unique.”
Musk's affection for the letter X is no secret; he owns the company SpaceX, and Tesla has a car called Model X. The recently named C.E.O of X, Linda Yaccarino, detailed a potential future for the company, including making payments and having video calls similar to FaceTime, without giving “your phone number to anyone,” all through the app. She also asserts that when she was hired she knew that she “was joining the company to partner with Elon to transform Twitter into X, the everything app.” Musk’s sudden decision to rebrand may be linked to an almost 50% drop in revenue once he took over Twitter, which is now worth $15 billion, despite being bought by him for over 40 billion. The reaction to Twitter’s renaming has been largely the same. Changing from Twitter to X is a bad idea. CNBC claims that this “risks even more damage to Twitter’s business,” and The New York Times details how this change “has essentially wiped out 15 years of brand value”. The shift from Twitter to X may prove to be a fruitful one in the long run, but so far it has been disastrous.