But, what about its original owner? Mashable interviewed Gene X. Hwang, co-founder of event photo company Orange Photography and the person who originally registered the @x handle on the platform more than 16 years ago, earlier that same day. Hwang told us at the time that he had yet to hear from Musk and company, but was hoping they could work something out when the inevitable happened.
The former @Twitter account now uses @X, which the company took from Gene X. Hwang, who registered the handle more than 16 years ago.
Credit: Mashable screenshot
So, Musk now has the @x handle. What happened? Did Musk reach out to Hwang? Did Hwang cash in and get a paycheck from the company for the handle as some on social media have speculated?
No, the company just took it from him.
“[I] got an email basically saying they are taking it,” Hwang told Mashable in an email exchange.
Hwang previously told Mashable he was waiting for Twitter (or X now) to contact him so he wasn’t previously in contact with the company. He hadn’t heard from X before that. There was no back-and-forth discussion.
Musk’s company is within its right to take the username. Barring trademark issues, users don’t have rights to specific handles according to most social media companies’ terms of service. However, with reports that Twitter had been considering launching a service where users could bid on unused, rare handles, some users had thought the company would offer Hwang something.
According to Hwang, the company now formerly known as Twitter did offer “an alternative handle with the history of the @x account” so that his original account, complete with its posts and followers, could live on and continue to be used.
What short, catchy username did Musk’s company change Hwang’s handle to? @x12345678998765.
Shortly after X took control of the @x handle, Hwang tweeted from his new username.
“Alls well that ends well,” he posted, which might be where the speculation originated that he was happy with whatever deal that was made.
But, there was no deal. However, the company did offer Hwang some non-financial compensation.
“Some merch and to meet with management if I like,” Hwang told me, referring to what the company did offer him in its email.
It’s unclear if the swag would be Twitter or X related.
“Oh well – guess that’s how it goes,” Hwang said.