SAN FRANCISCO - A bright and flashy "X" sign was removed from the top of the San Francisco headquarters of the company previously known as Twitter on Monday days after its installation provoked an outcry.
The pulsing white lights from the X had incensed some neighbors who said it was far too bright. City officials fined the building's owner for having the structure on the roof without permits, the Department of Buildings Inspections said to KTVU.
The rooftop sign debuted recently as part of Elon Musk's rebranding of the social media app with a new name and logo.
Crews showed up at 9 a.m. on Monday to unscrew the sign and unplug the cords. All that's left are two posts that held the X up high in the sky above Market Street.
"It was annoying," said Miao Gong, who lives nearby. "It was so bright that it was actually hurting my eyes a little bit. I think if it had just stayed on, I could've ignored it, but because it kept flashing, it was hard to ignore."
The city said it received 24 complaints about the sign's structural safety and illumination.
The situation escalated further when workers denied city inspectors access to the roof twice during their attempts to investigate the matter. The removal of the sign on Monday also proceeded without the proper permits, the buildings inspection department said, which means there will be additional fines for the owner.
Tech expert Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely.org, suggested that the entire episode might have been a calculated stunt to garner attention for Musk's new rebranding. He changed the company name from Twitter to X, and replaced the iconic blue bird with a white X on a black square.
Stream KTVU on your TV by downloading Fox Local on your Roku, Amazon Fire, AndroidTV or AppleTV device for free. More details here.
"Elon Musk could've been the author of the statement 'there's no such thing as bad publicity' because he seems to love any notoriety he can get, whether it's good or bad, and a lot of it is bad," Magid said.
Musk's tendency to execute bold moves and then backtrack further fueled speculation that this sign's installation and subsequent removal were part of a strategic plan.
"It's not unusual for Elon Musk to do something and then backtrack from it," Magid added.
X representatives have not publicly addressed the concerns raised by neighbors or the city. The swift removal of the controversial sign only adds to the suspicion that Musk's plan may have been to gain attention and publicity.