Elon Musk has said the Twitter name “does not make sense” as he rebrands the platform into an “everything app” called X.
The world’s richest man has not been shy of putting his own stamp on the site he bought for $44bn (£38bn) last October and has now embarked on the most dramatic change in its 16-year history.
Musk spent the weekend teasing an imminent reinvention and unveiled a new name and logo yesterday.
His desire to impose sweeping changes to such a recognisable social media brand prompted confusion, but the SpaceX and Tesla owner defended the move in a late night tweet.
“The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video,” he said.
“In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world.
“The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”
Earlier, Musk had declared tweets now be known as x’s.
What is ‘the everything app’?
Musk has long spoken of his desire to turn Twitter into an “everything app” modelled on China’s WeChat.
It combines features like messaging, payments, a marketplace, and public posts into one place.
Musk said he bought Twitter “as an accelerant for X”, a letter with clear sentimental value to him.
Not only is it part of the name of his rocket firm, but also one of his children; an artificial intelligence start-up he launched earlier this year; and an online bank he co-founded in 1999 that later became PayPal.
Experts have suggested the Twitter change is as much about tying it to Musk’s personal brand as anything else.
Why rebranding Twitter will be an enormous challenge
Rapid changes at HQ
The rebrand has not just been reflected on Twitter’s site and app, but also at its San Francisco headquarters, where Musk had the new logo beamed on to the building.
Workers were seen removing the Twitter sign from outside on Monday, but were briefly held up by police.
Witnesses said officers told them Musk’s company hadn’t acquired a permit for the crane to be on site, but the delay was later put down to a “misunderstanding”.
Local police told The San Francisco Standard: “At approximately 12:39pm, officers assigned to Tenderloin Station responded to the area of 10th and Market Street regarding a report of a possible unpermitted street closure.
“Officers were able to determine that no crime was committed, and this incident was not a police matter.”
Inside the building, remaining references to Twitter and its iconic logo have also reportedly been removed.
A statue of the blue bird was among the items put up for auction earlier this year as Musk looked to cut costs, having already sacked thousands of staff.
On Monday, The New York Times reported X logos were projected in the building’s canteen, while conference rooms were renamed to words with X in them – including “eXposure” and “s3Xy”.
Musk, who is 52, has a history of making jokes referencing internet memes about sex and drugs.
Another rival emerges?
As Twitter’s rebrand got under way, TikTok revealed it had added the ability for users to post text updates.
The Chinese-owned app is best known for short-form video, but has previously branched out into photo sharing.
The text option gives people “another way to express themselves”, the company said.
It represents yet another direct rival to X, which is already fending off competition from the likes of Meta’s Threads, which became the fastest growing app in history earlier this month.
On Tuesday, the app added the much-requested ability to see a timeline of just accounts you follow, rather than one generated by an algorithm.
Some users and advertisers have been looking elsewhere due to Musk’s many changes, which have included locking verification ticks behind a paywall, reinstating banned accounts such as that of Andrew Tate, and applying reading limits.
His loose stance on moderation has contributed to Twitter losing almost half of its advertising revenue, with the company unprofitable and in heavy debt.