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Elon Musk fined over ‘X’ sign on Twitter roof

San Francisco officials issued a notice of violation for $3,500 in unpermitted work.

San Francisco officials issued a notice of violation for $3,500 in unpermitted work.

City officials in San Francisco will fine technology mogul Elon Musk and his social media platform formerly known as Twitter after the company illegally installed a large, illuminated “X” on the roof of its corporate headquarters.

On Monday, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection says it mailed a notice of violation to Musk and Twitter over the “X” installation, which featured strobe lights that annoyed nearby residents and business owners for several days.

Even before the sign was installed, Musk and Twitter faced scrutiny from building inspectors after a work crew blocked a busy intersection while disassembling Twitter’s front façade sign, which was installed more than a decade ago.

The work crew did not secure the necessary permits to disassemble the sign or block the street, triggering a response from San Francisco police officers.

Shortly after that incident, Musk directed officials to install the controversial “X” sign, which was apparently held in place by dozens of sandbags. The sign was removed at the order of building inspectors, who say they were denied entry to Twitter’s offices on at least two separate occasions over the weekend.

On Monday, building inspectors said they referred the matter to the city’s planning and engineering departments, and issued a notice of violation over the sign. The violation includes fines to offset costs associated with the deployment of building inspectors, the dismantling of the sign and other penalties.

City officials determined the value of the work performed without permits was $3,500, according to a copy of the violation notice obtained by The Desk. Twitter and Musk have been ordered to stop all related work and file a building permit within the next two business days, or they could face additional fines.

The sign was intended to signal Twitter’s rebrand to “X,” which Musk oversaw early last week. The rebrand saw Musk adopt a new logo for Twitter, a new web address — which was blocked in at least one country — and refreshed smartphone and tablet apps.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).