After investigation and complaints, Twitter removes ‘X’ on headquarters
By Lauren McCarthy
Workers earlier this week dismantled a giant “X” sign that was only briefly displayed on the roof of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco after residents complained and the city issued a violation notice for lacking proper permits, according to local officials.
The sign was installed Friday to reflect the company’s new branding and spurred immediate concern. Over the weekend, the city received 24 complaints, which included concerns about its structural safety and flashing lights.
One complaint described “extremely intense white stroboscopic light” that was “causing distress and nausea.”
Another wrote that the sign looked “really unstable,” adding that “a decent earthquake is going to send that thing down on the street!”
Patrick Hannan, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, said in a statement that “building inspectors observed the structure being dismantled” Monday morning.
Background: San Francisco was investigating.
According to a complaint filed with San Francisco, an inspector went to Twitter’s headquarters Friday to notify the company that it was in violation of safety codes for having a structure on the roof without a permit. The inspector requested access to inspect the sign.
Twitter representatives told the inspector that it was a “temporary lighted sign for an event,” the complaint said. The inspector explained to company representatives that the city would require the structure to either be removed or be brought up to code.
City inspectors tried to gain access to the roof a second time Saturday, but “upon arrival access was denied again by tenant,” the complaint said.
“A building permit is required to make sure the sign is structurally sound and installed safely,” Hannan said in a statement Sunday regarding the city’s investigation. “Planning review and approval is also necessary for the installation of this sign,” he said.
The sign was being dismantled when an inspector returned for a third time Monday. “By the time I left the entire structure had been removed,” the inspector noted.
Why it matters: The social media platform is rebranding.
The social media company has been embroiled in issues over signage amid the platform’s sudden flurry of rebranding.
In late July, Elon Musk, the tech billionaire who bought Twitter last year, renamed the platform X.com and replaced its blue and white bird logo.
The changes were reflected inside Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters — X logos were projected in the cafeteria and conference rooms were renamed — as well as outside. Early July 24, Musk shared a photo of a giant X projected on Twitter’s office building shortly after announcing the change.
“Soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds,” he wrote.
The next week, San Francisco police stopped workers from removing its bird logo from the side of the building, saying the workers had not blocked off the sidewalk to keep pedestrians safe if anything fell, The Associated Press reported.
A complaint about that sign’s removal was also filed with the city, citing permit violations. Days later, the “X” sign was installed.
What’s next: The “X” came with a price.
Hannan said in the statement Monday that the company would be “assessed fees for the unpermitted installation of the illuminated structure.”
The fees will be for building permits for the installation and removal of the structure, and to cover the cost of the city’s investigation, he said, declining to provide an estimate.
This year, the company was sued for $1.9 million in unpaid bills by Innisfree M&A Incorporated, an advisory firm it hired during its sale to Musk.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.