Elon Musk to Be Charged By SF Authorities for ‘X’ Sign Fiasco

Turns out, you can't just put a giant, glowing X on top of a building in downtown San Francisco whenever you want.

Elon Musk will have to cover the costs of the investigation into whether X Corp (formerly Twitter) had permission to erect a large ‘X’ sign on top of the social media platform’s headquarters in San Francisco.

City authorities — which contend the billionaire did not have permission to put it up — are also going to bill the company for the permits it would have needed to gain in order to install (and also remove) the large, luminescent logo from the building.

Musk is already being sued by landlords in San Francisco, as well as London, for refusing to pay rent for its office space — while the city’s police force stopped him from taking down the sign with Twitter’s old logo just last week.

Musk Charged for X Sign Stunt

Elon Musk will be billed for both the investigation into the X sign that was conducted by San Francisco authorities as well as the costs of installing and removing the object from the roof, a recent BBC report has revealed.

The strobe fixture, which was flashing constantly and could be seen from miles away, had already irked locals, with many suggesting that the decision was reckless. The Guardian reports that 24 complaints were made to the city over the weekend regarding the sign.

The sign itself was removed on Monday morning, much to the relief of the company’s neighbors.

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Musk vs San Francisco: A Difficult Relationship

Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in 2022, his relationship with the authorities in San Francisco has been far from rosy.

Shortly after his takeover, with the company shifting to an “extremely hardcore” working dynamic, Musk was investigated by the city for allegedly having two illegal bedrooms at the office headquarters. It was ruled the company could keep the bedrooms if the social media platform made a change to its building permit.

Then, in January, Musk was sued for reportedly refusing to pay millions of dollars in rent to local landlords, according to a California court filing.

The city’s district attorney has accused Musk of spreading misinformation in the wake of the murder of Bob Lee, who worked for Square and helped create Cash App. The Tesla chief linked the killing to violent crime in the city.

Musk has never been too complimentary of San Francisco, which is often on the receiving end of the tech mogul’s social media ranting. In May, while addressing the possibility that the company may leave the city, he said that the city was in a “doom spiral”:

Just last week, of course, the police arrived to stop Mr. Musk from removing Twitter’s old logo from the headquarters on Market Street — with the company reportedly also lacking a permit to carry out the work.

X No Longer Marks the Spot

Elon Musk seems to be taking the phrase “all publicity is good publicity” quite seriously, whatever the financial implications.

But the world continues to watch on, gawking at his latest social faux pas, expensive stunt, or controversial comment. Twitter — or X, as it’s now called — has remained a bottomless pit of drama since he took control of the platform almost a year ago.

The decision to suddenly ditch the world-famous Twitter brand — in favor of a logo that has been compared to an adult movie site, a tacky nightclub, and everything in between — is one of his most questionable decisions yet.

Finding out if the platform has enough credit in the bank with users to ride this tumultuous period out will be fascinating. However, whether it’ll ever return to normality, with Musk anywhere near it, is hard to say.

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Written by:
Aaron Drapkin is a Lead Writer at Tech.co. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol five years ago. As a writer, Aaron takes a special interest in VPNs, cybersecurity, and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, Cybernews, and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, ProPrivacy, The Week, and Politics.co.uk covering a wide range of topics.
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