Light Wave


“X” Marks The Spot Where Twitter Bluebird Once Nested In Downtown SF

By Jake Beardslee · July 30, 2023

In brief…

  • San Francisco is investigating the legality of Elon Musk's new "X" emblem, which has replaced Twitter's logo atop the social media firm's headquarters.
  • "X" logo is part of Musk's campaign to rebrand Twitter as it faces financial troubles and negative press.
  • San Francisco officials say Musk's installaton requires approval for design and safety.
  • The flap started when workers attempted to remove the bird logo without proper sidewalk protection.
Elon Musk's new "X" logo for the social media company formerly known as Twitter.  Sawyer Merritt/Wikimedia Commons

The City of San Francisco has initiated an official permit violation investigation into a huge “X” emblem that was installed Friday atop the downtown building previously known as Twitter headquarters, as tech mogul Elon Musk presses forward with his campaign to rebrand the social media giant.

Face with sagging revenues and a tsunami of negative press since he purchased Twitter last year, Musk hoisted the new “X” logo to replace Twitter’s ubiquitous blue bird symbol as part of his campaign to overhaul the company he acquired for $44 billion. The “X” sign, adorned with rows of brilliant lights, looms even more prominently at night

Musk said playfully, “Bid adieu” to “all the birds.”

San Francisco officials insist that swapping out letters or symbols on structures, or raising a sign on top of a building, requires a permit for design and safety.

The “X” flap started last week when San Francisco law enforcement stopped workers from taking down the company’s iconic bird logo from the side of the building, citing the contractor for not cordoning off the sidewalk to protect pedestrians.

According to municipal regulations, any substitutions of letters or symbols necessitate getting a permit to guarantee “consistency with the historic nature of the building,” and to ensure any new additions are securely fastened to the sign, Patrick Hannan, representative for the Department of Building Inspection, told the Associated Press.

“Erecting a sign on top of a building also requires a permit. Planning review and approval [are] also necessary for the installation of this sign. The city is opening a complaint and initiating an investigation,” Hannan said.