San Francisco City Investigates Elon Musk’s ‘X’ Sign on Twitter HQ: What’s Behind the Controversy?

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The city of San Francisco sent representatives twice this weekend to inquire about the flashing, gargantuan “X” logo that Elon Musk installed atop his social media platform’s downtown headquarters, the latest in his attempts to rebrand the company.

City Officials Issue Notice of Violation

The “X” sign, representing a new logo and name for what was once Twitter, was installed Friday. City officials issued a notice of violation against the company that same day, saying the sign was installed without a permit. Replacing signage on buildings, or placing a new sign on top of a building, requires the city’s approval.

City Inspector Denied Access to the Sign

A city building inspector has since tried twice — on Friday and on Saturday — to gain access to the new rooftop sign, according to the city’s complaint tracker. X representatives denied access to the inspector, allegedly telling the official that the structure “is a temporary lighted sign for an event,” according to the city’s complaint. The city inspector explained to on-site X representatives that the structure must be removed or abide by city code.

Possible Penalties for the Company

It’s unclear what penalties the company may face, but building violations often incur fees, according to the city website, at least to “reimburse the department for the cost of the investigation and enforcement.” City officials did not immediately respond to The Washington Post on Sunday.

San Francisco Requires Permits for Building Signage

San Francisco requires a permit to approve new letters or symbols on a building’s sign “to ensure consistency with the historic nature of the building and to ensure the new additions are safely attached to the sign,” Patrick Hannan, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Building Inspection, told The Post last week.

Traffic Disruption and Controversy

The X headquarters’ revamp sparked scrutiny Monday when the company brought in a crane to pluck the decade-old Twitter logo off the building and disrupted two lanes of traffic at a busy intersection. Local police received reports around 1 p.m. about a “possible unpermitted street closure,” The Post reported. The crane left by midafternoon, leaving the company’s old logo removal haphazardly unfinished.

Musk Reveals the New Logo

Musk’s new logo took its looming place on Friday, and by Saturday, he posted a nearly 20-second video, displaying the enormous, beaming “X” in slow-motion. The company did not immediately respond to The Post on Sunday.

Musk Confirms X’s Loyalty to San Francisco

“Many have offered rich incentives for X (fka Twitter) to move its HQ out of San Francisco. Moreover, the city is in a doom spiral with one company after another left or leaving. Therefore, they expect X will move too,” Musk posted on Saturday. “We will not. You only know who your real friends are when the chips are down. San Francisco, beautiful San Francisco, though others forsake you, we will always be your friend.” (Musk has previously regarded San Francisco with apparent disdain.)

User Reactions and Controversy

Meanwhile, many users on X were quick to criticize the sign, blasting it as inconsiderate for nearby residences and distasteful.

Ongoing Chaos and Confusion Surrounding X

Musk announced the social media platform’s new name and logo, X, early last week. It’s the most recent source of confusion regarding the company, which has been mired in controversy and chaos since Musk acquired it for $44 billion last fall. The company has been sued for failing to pay millions in rent and investigated for illegally converting offices into bunk rooms. It shed more than 80 percent of its workforce. It ended its verification system in favor of blue checkmarks for purchase. Now, the new name X has spurred bewilderment among users and raised questions about brand management.


The city of San Francisco continues to monitor the situation and determine appropriate actions regarding the giant “X” logo atop X headquarters. The company may face penalties for violating building regulations, while users and residents express their criticism and concerns. The ongoing controversies and challenges surrounding X’s rebranding efforts raise questions about the company’s future.

Trisha Thadani contributed to this report.


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