News & Analysis

X Takes Over @X Handle 

Elon Musk owned Twitter, now known as X, has done the expected by snatching the handle from its owner and paying him nothing


Trust Elon Musk to be himself and ensure that any company carrying his name follows suit. Barely a day after his team rebranded Twitter to X, the company virtually snatched away the @X handle without even a formal warning, let alone any discussion around financial compensation. No surprises, given that it’s par for the course for the world’s few entitled souls! 

Barely 24 hours earlier, we had asked the question, “What would happen if your Twitter handle was @X? Though we knew the answer and even subtly predicted it, there was lingering hope that the Muskian philosophy would take a back seat at least on a social media platform where millions are watching. But, no! All’s fair in the Muskian Universe. 

Thank you but no thankings, is the Musk way

Media reports suggested that the owner of the @X handle was curtly informed that the handle was the property of Musk’s X and it was taken over without even a “by your leave”. What’s more, the company offered its owner Gene X Hwang of Orange Photography a word of thanks for “his loyalty”, a selection of X merchandise, and a tour of the company’s headquarters as a form of appreciation. A few thousand dollars from Musk’s bulging wallet may’ve helped! 

Just so that the entire Twitterati universe (we haven’t yet figured out how to rebrand that particular word to suit His Highness), the letter that Hwang received is given below. This was published by TechCrunch who spoke to the former owner to get his side of the story. Not that there are any other sides when it comes to Musk and his world. 

(Source: TechCrunch) 

The original owner is far from surprised or shocked

According to the article in TechCrunch, Hwang was surprised that the company did not reach out to him about the @X handle – one that he had set to private. Typically, brands offer some monetary compensation for owning digital assets (remember the days when folks made money by registering web domains that obviously belonged to big brands?). 

Not only did Hwang not receive any intimation on initiating a conversation, he was dumped with an alternative handle (@x1234567998765) that reads more like a mathematical equation. All this didn’t take away his sense of humor as Hwang’s first tweet from his new handle was “All’s well that ends well.” 

He confirmed to the publication that X sent him a letter that claimed the handle in his possession belonged to X Corp., and that all his data including followers and following would be transferred to a new handle. He was also offered a choice of handle in case he didn’t like the auto-suggested one and a tour of the X HQ to meet team members. What better than having a word with the very gang that robbed you, right? 

Of course, Hwang was clear that he didn’t expect anything else from the company and that he was fine with things. In fact, he felt some compensation would have been worthwhile as the handle did mean a lot to him, though he’s now ready to settle for the bird from the sign that the new company was dismantling from the erstwhile Twitter headquarters.

Hwang says he’s forgiven… did he have a choice?

Whether Hwang is portraying a good sense of humor through his first tweet (do we still call it that or should it be Xeet?) or he’s just reconciled to the Muskian way of doing things is something we may never find out. Suffice to say that the entire story around Twitter’s takeover by Elon Musk is quite comical. 

Just so we all remember – Musk bought Twitter for a whopping $44 billion, attempted to renege on the deal citing “falsified data”, and went ahead over fears of a legal backlash. Then CEO Parag Agarwal and CFO Ned Segal were the first casualties of the acquisition. What followed was a hara-kiri of sorts. A majority of the existing team was fired, the product was revamped whereby the blue tick was monetized and a well-known and respected logo was trashed along with a brand name that was synonymous with microblogging. 

Which leaves us with the moot question: “What exactly did Elon Musk buy then?” And if you are a democrat in the US, add a second, “Whom did he buy it for?” 

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