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Musk shows off new X sign on top of San Francisco HQ, but the city’s not happy

Soon after Elon Musk tweeted a drone video showing a new white light in the shape of an X atop the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Friday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that the city had decided to launch in investigation over concerns that the sign’s installation may have broken rules.

The X logo is replacing the iconic Twitter bird as Musk continues efforts to rebrand the social media platform that he acquired in October.

Our HQ in San Francisco tonight

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 29, 2023

Placing a sign of this size on top of a San Francisco building requires a permit, and it appears X had failed to obtain one before it replaced the Twitter sign — which was on the side of the building — with the large X logo.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Building Inspection told the AP that such installations require a permit for safety reasons and also to ensure “consistency with the historic nature of the building.”

The spokesperson added: “Planning review and approval is also necessary for the installation of this sign. The city is opening a complaint and initiating an investigation.”

Though he didn’t reference the current controversy surrounding the new sign, Musk tweeted on Saturday that despite “rich incentives” to move X’s headquarters out of the California city, he insisted the company would stay in “beautiful San Francisco.”

“Many have offered rich incentives for X (fka Twitter) to move its HQ out of San Francisco,” he wrote. “Moreover, the city is in a doom spiral with one company after another left or leaving. Therefore, they expect X will move too. We will not. You only know who your real friends are when the chips are down. San Francisco, beautiful San Francisco, though others forsake you, we will always be your friend.”

Across its online products, Musk’s team has spent the past week replacing the iconic Twitter bird with the new X symbol as part of a big rebranding effort.

The long-term plan is to transform X into a so-called “everything app” that offers a range of services under one roof, similar to China’s WeChat.

Musk bought X — then Twitter — in October in a deal worth $44 billion. Since then, he’s made a slew of changes to the platform, some of them upsetting long-time users of the app. Some advertisers have also withdrawn revenue, concerned about a reported increase in hate speech on the platform after Musk reinstated a number of accounts banned under the previous ownership. To try to steady the ship, Musk recently appointed former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO.

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