Owner of @x Twitter handle says no one reached out ahead of Twitter's rebranding to 'X'

Twitter's rebranding to X has not been faring well. In addition to the haphazard rollout, which saw parts of the site referencing "X" while other parts still implored you to "search Twitter" or push a blue button to "Tweet," the company also didn't secure the intellectual property rights to the X brand, Reuters reported. Plus, Twitter didn't get a permit to take down the Twitter sign from its San Francisco headquarters, requiring police intervention to stop the work. And, as TechCrunch discovered, the company didn't even make an attempt to secure the @x Twitter handle, owned by Gene X Hwang of the corporate photography and videography studio Orange Photography.

The @x account is currently set to private, but is referenced by the San Francisco-based @orangephoto account, which credits its founders by their Twitter handles "@x & @jackhuynh," or Gene X Hwang and Jack Huynh, respectively.

According to Hwang, no one from the company formerly known as Twitter has yet to reach out to him about the @x account he operates, but notes he would be happy to have a conversation if they ever did so.

"I'm kind of waiting to see what might happen," Hwang tells TechCrunch. "And I would be willing to part with the handle if they made an offer for it that made sense," he adds.

Hwang says he doesn't really have a solid figure in mind in terms of what the right price should be for parting with the account's name. For comparison, the prices for coveted Instagram handles tend to sell for thousands of dollars.

By all accounts, Twitter's rebranding to X seemed rushed, given the way events have played out in the hours since Elon Musk's announcement. Twitter's website and app hadn't fully removed all references to Twitter, and though the main @Twitter handle was rebranded as "X" the handle itself was still @twitter, users soon noticed.

"They didn't even secure the handle before moving forward," remarked Twitter user @Nash076. "Ready shoot aim."



While Hwang waits to hear back to see if X or Musk will make him an offer -- or perhaps just acquire his handle without consent (you never know these days!), others are digging into the intellectual property rights battles that X may now face. As Reuters and others reported, Microsoft has owned an X trademark since 2003 related to Xbox and Meta has owned a federal trademark since 2019 covering a blue-and-white letter "X." While its logo looks different from Twitter's new X branding, Meta's trademark includes use with online social networking services, which may pose a problem.

Though Meta may not decide to pursue legal action, trademark attorney Josh Gerben told Reuters there's a "100% chance" Twitter will be sued by somebody over the X rebranding, as he's counted nearly 900 active U.S. trademark registrations that cover X across various industries.

Beyond the missteps with the rebranding itself, others are pointing out that Musk's move to rename Twitter "X" may involve a financial hit to the brand's value itself. Citing analysts and agencies, Fortune reports Musk may have wiped out $4 billion to $20 billion in Twitter's value -- a brand that took 15-plus years to build.