Elon Musk’s Twitter rebrand to ‘X’ is a total disaster. Here’s what’s happened so far

Elon Musk

It’s not a tweet any more, it’s a “xeet”!

As you might be aware, Twitter is no more – instead, owner Elon Musk has rebranded the platform to “X”, in a move almost everyone dislikes and has mocked in the days since the change.

Following a string of changes made to Twitter since billionaire Musk acquired the website – including a ban on the words “cis” and “cisgender”, and seeing the value of the site drop by two thirds – it was announced on Sunday (23 July) that the site is now called “X”.

It’s official website, about.x.com, is simply a redirect to an old Twitter site, where every page currently refers to the bird-brand, and “X” isn’t mentioned once.

Announcing the controversial change, Musk said the Twitter bird logo will soon be replaced, tweeting: “And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.”

Linda Yaccarino, the site’s chief executive, added that the goal of X is “unlimited activity”, and that it will become the “platform that can deliver, well, everything… Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.” 

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Twitter’s rebrand has hardly been the world’s biggest success story, however. Here’s everything you need to know about the change and why it’s been a flop. 

X’s failures so far

The rebrand faced issues immediately after launch, when workers began to remove the “Twitter” name from outside the company’s San Francisco headquarters, with police reportedly stopping the “unauthorised” move to take the logo down.

According to police, Twitter had failed to communicate its plans to remove the sign with security and the building’s owner, although no crime had actually been committed. 

Photos were widely circulated of the scene, with only the letters “er” left on the building’s sign. 

More issues arose when users found that the rebrand could be complicated legally, with Reuters reporting companies including Meta and Microsoft already have intellectual property rights to the letter “X”. 

The news agency explained that Meta and Microsoft would not be likely not sue Twitter unless they felt that “X” encroached on their own brands, but lawyers did say that legal action was possible. 

Other groups have also decried the rebrand as “illogical”, with marketing consultant Gareth Turner telling Marketing Week that the move was “total brand-building madness”.

He explained: “It’s a rookie mistake to throw away decades of equity in those assets [the name Twitter and the blue bird logo]. I don’t believe that a rebrand is the thing he [Musk] needs to fix there, especially not over the space of a weekend.”

Users also questioned why a company would ditch a name and branding that has been adopted into language and become one of the most recognisable in social media.

But it appears that Musk’s desire to launch x.com is part of a two-decade plan, having allegedly first attempted to rebrand PayPal into the same thing in 2000, but swiftly being shown the door, according to The Washington Post.

Sources suggest Musk has always wanted “x.com” to be a banking app, but if his plan is to manage money, he’s off to a terrible start.

According to Time magazine, experts estimate he has wiped “billions” off the value of Twitter in a few days, so he’ll have to work hard to convince people to trust him with their hard-earned cash and monthly transactions.

It also seemed as if X’s users weren’t exactly taking the new name seriously, with Channel 4 pointing out that “people still call our streaming service 4OD, so good luck”. 

Children’s show Sesame Street also joined in the fun, joking that the letter X would be hosting a press conference about the change.

One of the show’s characters, Big Bird, added: “Luckily I’m a bird, so I can still tweet.”

A user asked: “Do you know how much you have to suck to get roasted by Sesame Street? This is incredible.” 

LGBTQ+ users also took the opportunity have a pop at Musk for his previous disregard for trans people’s names and pronouns, with one saying: “Going to continue referring to this website as Twitter instead of X so that Elon gets mad enough to ban deadnaming again.”

What other changes has Elon Musk made to Twitter?

Since taking over Twitter in October 2022, Musk has made several changes to the site, many of them affecting LGBTQ+ users. Alongside deep cuts to moderation and safety staff, the tech billionaire attempted to ban the word “cisgender” on the site, claimed deadnaming and misgendering are now allowed, and he has overseen a huge rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech

LGBTQ+ reporters and activists have criticised the changes, with one New York-based journalist telling PinkNews that new algorithms have “buried mostly everything” and the site is no longer as useful for sourcing and sharing news. 

“[Twitter] felt like a really special (albeit always chaotic) place for a while, that was full of opportunity. Now it feels like a hindrance to connection and a place where you cannot get information either,” she said. 

PinkNews has contacted Twitter (or should that be X?) for comment.

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