Musk Takes X Handle From Longtime Twitter User

With no compensation other than swag and a tour of the company headquarters
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2023 1:23 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2023 3:48 AM CDT
Musk Takes X Handle From Longtime Twitter User
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., introduces the Model X car at the company's headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in Fremont, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Gene X. Hwang registered the @x handle on Twitter more than 16 years ago. As of Tuesday night, though, it's no longer his: The old @twitter handle is now @x, thanks to Elon Musk's attempt to rebrand Twitter as X, and Hwang tells Mashable no one at the company gave him any warning his handle would be taken. He just "got an email basically saying they are taking it," he says; the email came from a generic address, Hwang and others could, of course, see the move coming as soon as the rebrand was announced, but some thought the company might offer Hwang some sort of compensation.

It did not, but it did offer him some swag, a meeting with management at headquarters, and a new (and much more unwieldy) handle that includes the history of his old @x handle, so none of his posts were lost: @x12345678998765, where Hwang recently posted, "Alls [sic] well that ends well." It also gave him his choice of a new handle, as long as it's not already taken, and he's still considering what he'll ultimately choose. Meanwhile, TechCrunch lists the various other issues Musk's rebrand is running into, including not having intellectual property rights to X as a brand and not getting San Francisco's permission to remove "Twitter" signage from HQ, leading police to stop work due to the lack of a permit to block traffic.

As for what we're calling posts on the social network formerly known as Twitter, the AP reports that if Musk wants the posts formerly known as tweets to now be called Xs, he may be fighting a losing battle: "With 'tweets,' Twitter accomplished in just a few years something few companies have done in a lifetime: It became a verb and implanted itself into the lexicon of America and the world. Upending that takes more than a top-down declaration." And, of course, there's the fact that the site itself still asks users to "tweet" or "retweet"; that language has not (at least not yet) been replaced. (More Twitter stories.)

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