Elon Musk’s X Corp. seen taking down giant glowing sign in San Francisco


CNBC/Kif Leswing

SAN FRANCISCO —Elon Musk marked San Francisco as the spot for X Corp. over the weekend, erecting a giant glowing X sign on top of the headquarters of the company on Friday.

On Monday, CNBC saw workers dismantling the glowing X, removing its lights and an arm of the letter, after the construction drew several complaints from neighbors and city officials. The complaints said that it was unpermitted, is a nuisance and, in one complaint, that its flashing lights made it hard to sleep.

The saga over the glowing sign is the latest example of Musk’s impulsive approach to running the company formerly known as Twitter. Musk has slashed staff, named former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO, and put core features behind a monthly subscription since purchasing the company for $44 billion last year.

But perhaps Musk’s riskiest move came last week when he changed the name of the company and service from “Twitter” to “X,” a change that experts say could wipe out years of brand awareness. Musk says that he believes X should be an “everything app” that handles banking, messaging, and video in addition to social media.

“Time to update,” Yaccarino wrote in a post about the logo change on Friday.

City officials on Friday issued a notice of violation to X Corp. for installing the sign without approval. Thirteen complaints have been initiated with San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspections since the sign went up on July 28 alluding to an “unsafe sign,” and “work without a permit,” among other issues. According to public records on the department’s website, representatives for X Corp. repeatedly declined to “provide access” to inspectors who visited the building.

City officials said in a complaint they were told by Twitter the structure was a “temporary lighted sign for an event.”

It’s possible that the sign is only being temporarily dismantled for improvements or to get city approval.

This is not the first time X has clashed with San Francisco building inspectors: When Musk took over Twitter last year, he faced probes from the city of San Francisco over building code violations at the building, including that some rooms at the office were turned into “hotel rooms.”

CNBC/Kif Leswing

X’s headquarters is in part of downtown San Francisco that has attracted national attention for elevated levels of homelessness and crime. In tweets over the weekend, Musk said the city was in a “doom spiral” but said that X would not move.

“San Francisco, beautiful San Francisco, though others forsake you, we will always be your friend,” Musk tweeted.

A representative for X didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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