11 July 2024

A giant, glowing X marks the San Francisco spot where Elon Musk says he plans to keep his company, the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter. But city officials and some residents are unhappy with the display.

On Friday, the company erected an “X” logo on the roof of its Market Street headquarters, to the chagrin of neighbors who complained about intrusive lights, and San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection which said it is investigating the structure.

The move followed a post from Musk, the enigmatic billionaire who acquired the company in October for $44 billion, announcing the newly named firm would remain in San Francisco despite what he termed the city’s recent “doom spiral, with one company after another left or leaving.”

Musk, who also is CEO of electric car maker Tesla, moved that company’s headquarters from California to Texas in 2021. Keeping X in San Francisco could be a good sign for a city that has struggled to bounce back from tourism and business losses sustained during the pandemic.

Its downtown region is struggling with job cuts in the tech sector, the departure of major retailers, and reduced tourism. Traffic has fallen as more people work from home, while high-profile crime and homelessness have tarnished the city’s image.

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

Yet not all San Franciscans are keen for Musk’s friendship. Locals over the weekend recorded video of the giant X glowing, pulsing and strobing, with some criticizing its intrusive lights.

X user @itsmefrenchy123 said they would be “LIVID” over the bright logo, imagining it “right across from your bedroom.” “I’m just astounded at the flagrant lack of consideration for anyone ever,” wrote X user @DollyMarlowe.

San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection, meanwhile, opened an investigation into the structure, saying it might be in violation of permitting rules.

A BID inspector said in a written report that company representatives denied roof access, twice, to BID officials seeking to inspect the logo. The inspector noted one representative said the sign was temporary.

A BID spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Sunday.