Elon Musk’s rebranded social media app, X, has a new tagline on the App Store: “Blaze your glory!” The motto seems appropriate, considering the matching sign now crowning the company’s headquarters has been burned into the eyes of all those in the vicinity. The glaring logo was placed atop the Twitter offices in San Francisco on Friday (July 28), triggering a city investigation into building violations and drawing numerous complaints from neighbors.
San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection opened two complaints regarding the new logo on July 28, one for an “unsafe sign”—related to the removal of the old Twitter logo— and another for placing the giant “X” on the roof “without permit.”
“The Twitter sign at the corner of Market Street and 10th Street has been partially dismantled and the ‘@’ symbol is dangling and could fall to the public way causing harm to pedestrians,” one complaint reads.
The other complaint recounts that a building inspector attempted to access the Market Street office last Friday, but was denied entry by a Twitter (spelled “Tweeter” in the official record) representative. The company reportedly said the logo is a “temporary lighted sign for an event.” Another attempt was made to enter the building on July 29, but the investigator was denied access again, the agency record shows.
Residents in the area, including journalist Christopher Beale, have posted videos to Musk’s platform documenting the “X” logo’s glaring visual effects. The sign went dark as of yesterday (July 30) night, Beale wrote in an update, and the sidewalk beneath the old Twitter sign appears to have been closed off.
Musk announced a grand rebrand of Twitter on July 24 and has apparently been so eager for the bird logo to leave the nest that all regard for regulations has flown out the window.
Removal of Twitter’s blue bird logo began the same day as Musk’s “X” announcement, but was halted by police because the sidewalk had not been blocked off to protect pedestrians, AP reported. Changing the building’s signage also requires approval, city spokesperson Patrick Hannan said to the San Francisco Chronicle, but no building permit for the Market Street office has been recently applied for according to the city’s permit tracking system.
Installation of the new “X” may have also progressed in violation of Twitter’s office lease. Per the terms of the lease, tenants are required to receive written approval from the landlord before changing the building’s exterior corner sign. The lease also prohibits the placement of new signs or logos. It is unclear if Twitter received landlord approval prior to installing the “X.” Quartz contacted Twitter for clarification.
Musk’s determination to rebrand Twitter has also amplified his desire to buckle down on his “free speech” crusade, it would seem. Rapper Ye, who was removed from the platform in December after spewing antisemitic comments, had his account reinstated over the weekend.
Twitter is also threatening to sue an organization that researches online hate speech, as the New York Times reported today (July 31). The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) received a letter from X Corp. on July 20 that accused the nonprofit of making “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically,” according to a quote from the New York Times. The CCDH has published reports on how hate speech on Twitter has skyrocketed since Musk took over the platform, and become a key source of revenue.
CCDH has responded (pdf) to Musk’s legal counsel, decrying the letter as an intimidation tactic. “Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research, in the desperate hope that he can stem the tide of negative stories and rebuild his relationship with advertisers,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the CCDH, in a statement.