If you’ve used Twitter recently, then you’ve probably noticed that the website has undergone something of a rebrand. It’s not a particularly drastic one; for the most part, the site looks the same as it ever has, but there’s a new logo that’s been causing no end of controversy among Twitter’s user base.
The new logo, a stylised X, appears to be part of a wider effort to build a unified brand under that name. Owner Elon Musk appears to be aiming to build a sort of one-size-fits-all platform along the lines of China’s WeChat, one that covers payments, social interactions, and more. Here are 10 things you should know about the Twitter X rebrand.
1. It’s happened before
This isn’t the first time Elon Musk has set his sights on a pivot to a brand known as X. Back when Musk was involved with PayPal.com, he attempted to change the site’s branding to X.com and was met with criticism from the company’s board, who subsequently ousted him from the company. Ouch. Musk has clearly held onto the idea that the X branding is worthwhile, though, so that setback doesn’t seem to have deterred him.
2. It hasn’t changed Twitter’s functionality
Right now, the rebrand to X hasn’t actually changed anything fundamental about the way Twitter operates. Despite Musk’s apparent aim to build a unified platform – backed up by CEO Linda Yaccarino – Twitter remains exclusively a social media platform for the time being. It’s likely the X rebrand is an attempt to pave the way for something bigger later on; it’s more of a first step than a move in and of itself.
3. It’s proven pretty controversial
As you would perhaps expect, the Twitter X rebrand has provoked a range of reactions. Some are positive about the rebrand and about Musk’s handling of Twitter, but others have reacted with derision and scorn. Like pretty much everything Musk does nowadays, the rebrand has seemingly split Twitter into two broad camps, and while there are plenty of people in the middle who have no strong opinion, it’s a controversial change to say the least.
4. It’s likely to mean changes in the future
As we’ve discussed, the rebrand is likely to mean that Twitter pivots towards a broader scope in the future. Right now, Twitter is essentially all about social media, but in future, expect to see more and more functionality being added as Musk starts building his ambitious project. You may soon be able to make payments online with Twitter, as well as playing games and accessing all sorts of other functionality.
5. It’s been compared to adult sites
One of the reasons that the X brand was rejected by PayPal’s board back in the early 2000s was that some customers believed “X.com” was an adult website. Musk’s new Twitter rebrand has already run into issues in this regard; it’s been blocked in Indonesia, which has notably strict online content laws, because the new logo resembles that of an adult website. Musk may wish to reconsider his rebrand if he wants things to go smoothly.
6. The logo is a widely accessible font character
If it feels like you’ve seen that X before, then there’s a good chance you have. The X that makes up the new Twitter logo is actually part of a Monotype font by the name of Special Alphabets 4, which is easily accessible online. By typing X into the font preview window, you can clearly see that the Twitter logo is simply a slightly modified version of that character. One suspects that there weren’t many late-night meetings about that one.
7. The rebrand has been stalled by the police
A couple of days ago (at time of writing), the Twitter rebrand stretched to Twitter HQ, where workers were seen attempting to dismantle the Twitter logo, presumably in order to replace it with an X. However, these efforts were halted by the police, resulting in a rather amusing “er” being left over. The police later determined that no crime had been committed, but work on replacing the remaining characters has seemingly not yet recommenced.
8. Many other companies hold X trademarks
Musk’s attempts to rebrand Twitter to X could be stymied by the fact that many other companies currently hold trademarks for X in various areas. Most of these trademarks probably won’t bother Musk and Twitter too much, because if two companies are attempting to use names in different business areas, disputes don’t usually arise. However, Meta in particular holds an X trademark relating to messaging and streaming, which could be a serious roadblock for Musk.
9. We still don’t know what X actually is
Although Musk has been open about his ambition to create an “everything app” akin to WeChat or other all-encompassing systems, he hasn’t actually laid out what he intends X to be. As such, all we know is that it’s a hyper-ambitious project that may or may not come off in execution. We’ll likely have to wait a while before we know exactly what Musk and his team are planning for X.
10. It’s actually been successful…in some ways
Admittedly, Musk’s rebrand of Twitter to X has caused consternation among some users and provoked derision in others. However, it’s also arguable that Musk has successfully managed to take a beloved brand and completely transform it essentially overnight without losing any of the recognition that brand has. In many ways, that’s a difficult feat to achieve, and so perhaps some credit is due to Musk for that.