Menu Menu

Why Elon Musk is rebranding Twitter as ‘X’

Having changed Twitter Inc to X Corp back in April, the inevitable rebrand of the social network as ‘X’ is now underway – but why?

The bluebird is confirmed dead, and Elon Musk is holding the rifle.

As you’ve no doubt seen already, the billionaire has been constantly touting ‘X’ on his profile this week while trolling those who proclaim that ‘Twitter is dead’ – which has trended a few times in recent months.

In a tweet on Sunday morning (July 23), he stated: ‘Soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.’ That evening, a stylized X logo was projected on the company’s base in San Francisco, and mere hours later it replaced the bluebird on the social network. RIP (2006 – 2023).

The corporate entity Musk used to purchase and run Twitter is called X Holdings and the parent company for the site has been known as X Corp since April. Suffice to say, whether or not the decision to rebrand will prove popular, it’s unequivocally permanent.

Why the rebrand?

Let’s start with the basic stuff. Musk has a weird affinity with the letter X.

In 1999, he co-founded, an online banking service, and later merged it with another start-up to form PayPal. In 2017, however, it was revealed that Musk repurchased the domain, hinting that a large-scale project was in the works.

Over the next five years, Musk would regularly speak of his desire to launch ‘X, the everything app’ akin to China’s WeChat; which combines messaging, payments, its own marketplace, and a social network in one place.

Skip to the present, and Twitter’s chief director Linda Yaccarino has posted: ‘X is the future of unlimited interactivity centred on audio, video, messaging, payments/banking, and powered by AI (more specifically xAI, created by Musk).

The simplest explanation, therefore, is that the Tesla owner probably acquired Twitter in the first place to create X and see his long-term vision come to life. By virtue of using Twitter as a pawn, though, many have justifiably lamented the rebrand as a vanity project.

In terms of the timing, Meta’s Twitter-like service Threads springing from the woodwork may have accelerated Musk’s decision to push for wholesale innovation too. Having closely followed his standoff with rival Zuckerberg, I can’t believe he’d accept the challenge lying down.

Will this turn Musk’s fortunes around?

Literally revelling in controversy since beginning his tumultuous rein of Twitter, Musk will no-doubt be hoping for an upturn in fortune with X.

Ever since the paid subscription overhaul to Twitter’s blue tick verification system, the 52-year-old has lurched from one disaster to the next where public favour is concerned.

Swathes of problematic content returned to the platform soon after his acquisition, advertising revenue plummeted amid a mass exodus of sales executives, and recent efforts to stop data scrapers by putting harsh limits on post views basically just pissed loyal users off.

In the eyes of the financial sector, Musk is sure to be causing aggravation also. Banks and private investors lent billions of dollars during his takeover, and there could be concern about his blasé abandonment of the company’s iconic symbol.

From start to finish, his approach to running Twitter has been slapdash at best and is indicative of a boss with his fingers – and probably toes – in too many pies.

Perhaps lessons have been learnt and Musk will turn over a new leaf with X, but we reckon it’s safe to keep our reservations for now.