Twitter stole its new @X username without paying its owner a dime

Twitter's new brand name - X
(Image credit: Twitter / X)

Elon Musk's quest to ditch the Twitter name and replace it with X continues after the social network picked up the coveted @X username. But despite some assuming that its previous owner would be in for a big payday, all they got was some merch and a promise of a meeting with someone at the company.

While not necessarily allowed by Twitter's terms of service, accounts have been known to change hands for cold hard cash over the years. Single-character names like @X are particularly sought after and Twitter's branding change could have made this account owner pretty rich. But Twitter just up and took the account instead.

"They just took it essentially – kinda what I thought might happen," the account's previous owner said in an interview following the loss of his username.

Free X

In an interview with The Telegraph, the previous @X owner said that he received an email from Twitter reminding him that the account was never his in the first place — it was always owned by Twitter and simply loaned out, as is the case with all of our usernames for that matter.

Gene X Hwang, a photographer in San Francisco, said that he'd been offered some merch by way of recompense, although it isn't clear what was on offer. A meeting with the company's management was also offered, but nobody has said what that was supposed to be about.

As for Hwang, he now has a new username to tweet from although it's fair to say that @x12345678998765 isn't quite as snappy as his old one.

Twitter's rebrand comes as Musk tries to turn the short-form messaging service into a WeChat-like everything app. If he gets his way we can expect Twitter to start offering in-app payments, improved video support, and more moving forward.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • hectorsr
    this site's quality is going down quickly. Headline: STOLE. Article: ..the account was never his in the first place ...
  • grover5
    Poor Elmo.
  • gian posatiere
    hectorsr said:
    this site's quality is going down quickly. Headline: STOLE. Article: ..the account was never his in the first place ...
    No stole was the right wording. The "account was never his" quote was the excuse of the people that stole it.