The owner of the @x Twitter handle confirmed that the company, now known as X, took over his account without warning or financial compensation, telling him the handle is property of X. The handle had previously belonged to Gene X Hwang of the corporate photography and videography studio Orange Photography. In a letter, the company formerly known as Twitter thanked Hwang for his loyalty and offered him a selection of X merchandise and a tour of X’s HQ, as a “reflection of our appreciation.”
The @x handle mishandling was only one of the many haphazard steps involved in the rebranding of Twitter to X, owner Elon Musk’s favorite letter.According to reports, Twitter didn’t secure the intellectual property rights to the “X” brand, as Microsoft, Meta and others have claims to various “X” trademarks. It also didn’t get permission from the city to remove the Twitter signage on the building, forcing police to stop the work. It didn’t fully update its website and app, which though now sporting an “X” still implored users to “search Twitter” or push a button to “Tweet.”
And it didn’t reach out in advance to secure the @x Twitter handle for itself, as TechCrunch recently learned.
As a result, Twitter’s account was renamed “X” but the handle, until today, still read “@Twitter.”
Hwang was surprised that the company hadn’t reached out to him about the @x account he owned and had set to private, given the corporate rebranding, but said he would be open to a discussion with the company if they wanted the handle for themselves.
Typically, compensation for in-demand online usernames ranges in the thousands of dollars when sold on secondary marketplaces. But Hwang was not offered financial compensation, as it turns out — he just had the handle taken from him. That’s Twitter’s right, of course, but it’s not a great outcome for the owner.
Hwang tells us X sent him a letter that essentially stated the @x account is affiliated with X Corp., so he would be assigned a new handle. The company said all his data, including his followers and following data, would be transferred to his new handle. He could also reply to the email to let X know what handle he would like instead. To thank him, the company offered merch and an HQ tour, if he wanted to meet members of the X team.