Elon Musk says Twitter will change logo from bird to an X | Twitter

Elon Musk announced on Sunday that Twitter’s new logo, an X, would go live, replacing the distinctive bird logo in what would be the latest in a series of controversial shake-ups to the social media platform under his stewardship.

“ now points to,” the Tesla chief executive tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Interim X logo goes live later today.”

Musk, who bought the site for $44bn (£34bn) last October, tweeted in the early hours of Sunday that he intended to replace the blue avian silhouette with an “X” logo by as early as Monday if a suitable design was offered.

Musk changed the company’s official name in April to X Holdings Corp, after his early venture, to reflect his vision of creating “X, the everything app” performing social media and payment functions, similar to China’s WeChat.

If the rebranding goes ahead, it will be the latest example of Musk’s tendency to announce big and contentious changes to the site apparently on the hoof on his public feed, with mixed results.

The change will be very confusing to a huge chunk of Twitter users, who have already been souring on the social platform given a slew of other major changes Musk has made, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of marketing consultancy Metaforce.

“They won’t get it,” he said. “It’s a fitting end to a phenomenal unwinding of an iconic brand and business.”

Twitter’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, confirmed the launch of the X brand on Sunday. She tweeted: “It’s an exceptionally rare thing – in life or in business – that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.”

Yaccarino said X would be “centred in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking” and would be a “global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities”. She added: “X will be the platform that can deliver, well … everything.”

There’s absolutely no limit to this transformation. X will be the platform that can deliver, well….everything. @elonmusk and I are looking forward to working with our teams and every single one of our partners to bring X to the world.

— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayacc) July 23, 2023

Despite laying off half the company’s staff after acquisition, Musk revealed in recent days that it remains cashflow-negative with a heavy debt burden, after losing half of its advertising revenue, scuppering his plans to become cashflow-positive by June.

Many advertisers left the platform shortly after Musk took over the company, fearing damage to their brands in the early chaos. They have cut back on ad spending partly because of concerns about changes the new owner has made that have allowed for more hateful content to flourish. A key rationale behind the appointment of Yaccarino, a well-respected advertising executive, was to woo back advertisers who have either paused spending on the platform or reined it in significantly.

Musk’s moves – such as scrapping the legacy “blue ticks” of users whose accounts were verified as genuine, while allowing others to pay for the privilege – have often received criticism and been revised or reversed after a backlash.

A plan to change the “for you” timeline to show only paid-for accounts was scrapped within days of its announcement. Meanwhile, its recent switch to limit the amount of content users can view each day to tackle bot accounts has been seen as bolstering the growth of Meta’s rival service, Threads, which launched earlier this month.

Threads, which is being billed as a text-based version of Meta’s Instagram that the company said offers “a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations”, picked up 100 million sign-ups in its first five days.

The planned removal of Twitter’s logo was first revealed, as might be expected, on Musk’s account, when he tweeted: “And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.”

A subsequent post added: “If a good enough X logo is posted tonight, we’ll make [it] go live worldwide tomorrow.”

Musk further stated that his reasoning for changing the symbol was “to embody the imperfections in us all that make us unique”. He also posted a photo of himself making an “X” symbol with crossed arms in front of a poster for the Tesla Model X car, with the caption: “Not sure what subtle clues gave it away, but I like the letter X.”

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The flurry of tweets followed a poll he had issued asking whether he should change the site’s default pale blue colour scheme to black. At the time of publication, three-quarters of respondents had backed a switch.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter’s website says its logo, depicting the blue “Larry T Bird” as Twitter co-founder Biz Stone named him, is “our most recognisable asset”, adding: “That’s why we’re so protective of it.”

The site’s association with a bird has previously been explained by co-founder Jack Dorsey in interviews by his discovery that the dictionary definition of “twitter” was a “short inconsequential burst of information; chirps from birds”.

However, in April it was briefly replaced by a shiba inu dog, the symbol of the dogecoin cryptocurrency, helping drive a surge in the meme coin’s market value.

Whether the logo will permanently change to an X remains to be seen, given Musk’s patchy history at fulfilling his Twitter promises.

He pledged to stand by the results of a Twitter poll last December asking whether he should continue as the site’s chief executive. Several days after users told him to stand down, he eventually suggested he would do so only once he had found someone “foolish enough to take the job”. Former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino was confirmed in the role in May.

If Musk does end up replacing the Twitter bird with an X, it would not be the first time the platform has undergone some kind of rebranding.

Dorsey said in 2018 that the company at one point was briefly known as “twttr” before the company “added the vowels back in”.


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