Twitters Rebranding Sparks Controversy

Twitter's Rebranding Sparks Controversy as Elon Musk Takes Over Rare Username Without Compensation

By Joanne Cassar / 27. Jul 2023

In a bold move to rebrand itself, Twitter recently announced its transition to the new identity of "X," with the backing of its owner, Elon Musk.

However, this move has stirred controversy, as it appears that the company took the rare and coveted "X" username from its original owner, Gene X Hwang, without offering any financial compensation or prior warning.

The "X" username had belonged to Gene X Hwang since 2007, making him one of the few Twitter users with a single-letter username.

Given the limited number of letters in the English language, such unique usernames hold significant value, and they are treated as exclusive online identities that cannot be replicated.

Hwang, who is a co-founder of an event photo company called Orange Photography, revealed that he received an email from Twitter informing him that they were taking over his username.

Despite being stripped of his prized username, Hwang claims he was not offered any form of compensation for the loss.

Instead, Twitter only suggested an alternative account with an "X" in the username, leading Hwang to settle for a less attractive username, "x12345678998765."

Following the username change, Hwang tweeted, "All's well that ends well," hinting that he might have struck some deal during this transition.

According to reports, Twitter offered him some merchandise and a chance to meet the management, including Elon Musk himself, as the company's workforce had significantly reduced.

Interestingly, it's not the first time Musk has taken over a sought-after Twitter username. Previously, he acquired the "e" Twitter (or X) username shortly after acquiring the company.

However, the original owner of that username was not willing to part with it due to its high value.

Explaining the rebranding, Musk stated that the move to "X" reflects Twitter's evolution from a platform primarily focused on short 140-character messages, resembling bird tweets, to a platform that now accommodates various types of content, including lengthy videos and comprehensive communications.

Musk even hinted at integrating financial features into the platform in the future. As a result, the "Twitter" name no longer aligned with the platform's broader scope, leading to the decision to bid farewell to the bird logo.

While the rebranding has caused some controversy, Musk remains determined to establish an all-encompassing "X" app for various purposes. He acknowledged that the "X" logo might evolve over time as they continue to shape the platform's identity. (India today)