'X' No Longer Marks Musk's HQ

Crews remove huge sign on San Francisco building after complaints
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2023 6:00 AM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2023 4:53 PM CDT
San Francisco Raises Eyebrow at Musk's Giant New 'X'
A large metal "X" sign is seen on top of the downtown building that housed the company formerly known as Twitter in San Francisco on Friday.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley)
UPDATE Jul 31, 2023 4:53 PM CDT

After sparking complaints about the safety of the structure and its blinding illumination, the giant "X" sign atop the downtown San Francisco building housing headquarters for the company formerly known as Twitter has been removed. The huge, flashing, unpermitted marker lasted three days. City officials said they received 24 complaints in its first weekend, the AP reports. Twice after the installation, workers refused city inspectors access to the roof for their investigation, per KTVU. Crews took the sign down Monday morning. "It was so bright that it was actually hurting my eyes a little bit," said Miao Gong, who lives nearby. "I think if it had just stayed on, I could've ignored it, but because it kept flashing, it was hard to ignore."

Jul 29, 2023 6:00 AM CDT

The city of San Francisco has opened a complaint and launched a probe into a giant metal "X" sign that was installed Friday on top of the downtown building formerly known as Twitter headquarters, as owner Elon Musk continues his rebrand of the social media platform. City officials say replacing letters or symbols on buildings, or erecting a sign on top of one, requires a permit for design and safety reasons, per the AP. The X appeared after San Francisco police stopped workers on Monday from removing the brand's iconic bird and logo from the side of the building, saying they hadn't taped off the sidewalk to keep pedestrians safe if anything fell.

Any replacement letters or symbols would require a permit to ensure "consistency with the historic nature of the building" and to make sure additions are safely attached to the sign, Patrick Hannan, spokesperson for the Department of Building Inspection, said earlier this week. Erecting a sign on top of a building also requires a permit, Hannan said Friday. "Planning review and approval is also necessary for the installation of this sign. The city is opening a complaint and initiating an investigation," he said in an email.

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Musk unveiled the new X logo to replace Twitter's famous blue bird as he remakes the social media platform he bought for $44 billion last year. The X started appearing at the top of the desktop version of Twitter on Monday. Musk, who's also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has long been fascinated with the letter X and had already renamed Twitter's corporate name to X Corp. after he bought it in October. One of his children is even called X (the child's actual name is a collection of letters and symbols). On Friday afternoon, a worker on a lift machine made adjustments to the sign and then left.

(More Twitter stories.)

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