Elon Musk swipes coveted @x handle from Twitter user for rebrand

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Gene Hwang hoped he might have hit it big when Elon Musk rebranded Twitter as X. 

Known on the platform by his single-letter handle, @X, the San Francisco-based user was willing to discuss ceding control of the account that was now worth considerable value to the platform’s owner—for a price, of course . 

“I would sell if approached I think,” Hwang said, according to The Telegraph. “Guess it depends on the offer.”

A lot of Twitter users also held out hope that he could cash in from his prescient choice 16 years earlier to secure that specific Twitter handle now coveted by Musk for his rebrand.

It’s not without precedent as some single-letter accounts held from the very early days of the platform are considered very lucrative. One user, Naoki Hiroshima, claimed he was offered $50,000 for his @n handle.

Alas, the opportunity proved too good to be true: just because Hwang held the account, didn’t make it his to sell. 

Just as easily as the platform suspends accounts at the push of a button, offering little recourse, Musk’s management team simply evicted the Californian from his digital home at X.

Alls well that ends well

— x (@x12345678998765) July 26, 2023

No compensation was offered, either—at least none in the traditional sense that is. According to Hwang, the company did offer the photographer a chance to meet that very same management team that unceremoniously booted him from the account he had used for well over a decade. Who could say no to that?

Musk’s X was also willing to throw in some free merch for any troubles it may have caused him. 

“They just took it essentially,” Hwang confirmed to the UK paper. The move was unusual given Twitter had pledged not to confiscate user accounts unless there were potential trademark issues that could pose a problem for the business. 

“They did send an email saying it is the property of ‘X’, essentially,” he told the paper. 

In the end, however, Hwang remained good natured about the forced eviction, which he admitted he feared might end up happening.

“All’s well that end’s well,” he informed X in a post that has already garnered 11 million views and 113,000 likes.

His followers now need to stay abreast of Hwang’s views from another somewhat less elegant handle: @x12345678998765.

It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so easily though.

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