New York (CNN) — In a radical rebranding, Twitter owner Elon Musk has replaced Twitter’s iconic bird logo with X.
Musk made the shock announcement of his plans early Sunday. By Monday morning US time, he tweeted that X.com now points to Twitter.com.
“Interim X logo goes live later today,” he wrote, shortly before sharing a photo of Twitter’s headquarters lit up by a giant new X.
The Twitter website now features the same logo, while the familiar blue bird is gone.
Previously, Musk said he was bidding “adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.”
Twitter (TWTR), founded in 2006, has used its vivid, globally recognized blue bird emblem for more than a decade.
The renaming could be seen as something of a brand overhaul “Hail Mary” for the company: Musk in recent months has repeatedly warned that Twitter, facing steep losses in ad revenue, was on the edge of bankruptcy.
Twitter had 238 million active users prior to being taken private by Musk in October 2022.
Spats, mass layoffs
Now, many of the headlines he makes are for his eccentric remarks on his personal Twitter account – often sharing conspiracy theories and getting into public spats on the social media platform.
Musk overhauled the site after acquiring it for $44 billion in late October, then followed with mass layoffs, disputes over millions of dollars allegedly owed in severance and Musk’s note to employees that remaining at the company would mean “working long hours at high intensity.” He wrote: “Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”
The upheaval prompted organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Free Press and GLAAD, to pressure brands to rethink advertising on Twitter.
The groups pointed to the mass layoffs as a key factor in their thinking, citing fears that Musk’s cuts would make Twitter’s election-integrity policies effectively unenforceable, even if they technically remain active.
Musk also began overseeing controversial policy changes which led to frequent service disruptions at Twitter and upended his own reputation in the process.
‘A second chance’
In June, Musk named Linda Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal marketing executive, CEO of the company.
She commented on the name change on Twitter Sunday afternoon: “It’s an exceptionally rare thing – in life or in business – that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.”
As the new venture begins, it faces challenges. Musk recently disclosed that the platform still has a negative cash flow due to a 50% drop in advertising revenue and heavy debt loads.
Criticizing the exit, or pause, of such Twitter advertisers as General Mills (GIS), Macy’s (M) and some car companies that compete with Tesla, Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist” and said he wanted to buy Twitter to bolster users’ ability to speak freely on the platform.
Musk explained his approach to free speech by saying: “Is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech.”
He added that Twitter would “be very reluctant to delete things” and that the platform would aim to allow all legal speech. Many users have worried that could mean a rise in hate speech.
Meanwhile, the initial frenzy around rival Threads appears to have come back to earth, especially as it has been plagued with spam and lacks several user-friendly features Twitter, or, now X, offers.
Adam Mosseri, who is overseeing the Threads launch for Meta, has hinted at plans to add features such as a desktop version of the app, a feed of only accounts a user follows and an edit button.
Its ability to draw advertising support is, as yet, unproven.