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X Marks the Spot?: Musk Twitter Controversy Continues, as Flashing ‘X’ Sign Above Headquarters Is Torn Down

After multiple complaints from neighbours, Elon Musk has been forced to remove the large, flashing X sign above the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Neighbours filed a total of 24 complaints against the sign, which was installed without the proper permits. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection said the complaints cited "concerns about its structural safety and illumination."

Three days before the forced removal of the sign, a city inspector requested access to the roof of the building to evaluate it. The inspector was denied access and reported that a Twitter representative insisted that the sign was for an event. Upon a second visit to the headquarters, the inspector was once again refused access to the roof.

This is not the first clash between Twitter and the city of San Francisco, however. Just last Monday, the company removed the original Twitter sign without the required building permits. Workers were halted by police due to the safety hazards the operation posed.

Upon lighting the sign, social media was flooded with messages of anger and shock from residents. Patricia Wallinga, who resides across from the building, reportedly told CBS News that the sign is a “clown show.” She said, “I thought it was lightning, and I was very confused. I went to my window, I looked around, I didn’t see anything. I thought it was maybe a police siren.”

The abrupt resurrection of the sign with no regard for permits or the neighbourhood is seemingly in line with Musk’s business plan. Musk has been haphazardly and rapidly rebranding Twitter in the past months. He bought the company for $44 billion last year, and since then has been making a variety of changes to the well-loved platform. Many of which have been met with disdain from users.

One such change that brought about much scrutiny, is the development of ‘X Blue.’ This premium subscription, which costs $84 per year, allows users to access special features. Such features include being able to read up to 6000 posts a day and post more than 300 tweets a day even from a new account. For those unwilling to shell out the cash for the subscription, there is a 600-post limit per day, and features such as ‘edit post’ are blocked.

According to Musk, these limits are only temporary. When asked why, he claimed that the changes are a part of his plan to fix "extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation." He did not provide any notion of how long ‘temporary’ is, nor how many more changes are to come.

Musk’s popularity has dived in recent years, with his controversial opinions and brash way of handling business. His changes to Twitter, a platform that has been well-loved since its creation in 2006, are surely only damaging his image further. Many have claimed that they will stop using the app now that Musk is in control. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center showed that the number of tweets by top users has declined by 25% since Musk acquired the app. Forecasts show that nearly 30 million users are expected to leave the app in the next two years.

Given that the success of the platform is dependent on users, it is curious that Musk seems to be giving them so little thought. With more changes sure to come, one wonders if this is the end of Twitter entirely. It seems X is the perfect name for a dying platform.

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Tags: #twitter #elonmusk #X


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