Fact Check

No, Alcatraz Island is Not Being Turned into Twitter’s Headquarters

Elon Musk becomes an April Fools Day joke.

Published Apr 3, 2023

 (Tim Wilson/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Tim Wilson/Wikimedia Commons
Elon Musk is planning to make Alcatraz Island, the former penitentiary, into Twitter’s new headquarters.

If a story is shared on April Fools' Day, some people will inevitably believe it despite how outlandish it may be. And that was the case on April 1, 2023, when Architizer, a media outlet for architects, claimed that Elon Musk was moving Twitter's headquarters to Alcatraz Island, a former federal prison off the coast of San Francisco. 

A number of people appeared to believe the article was real, with one Twitter user writing, "Geezus. Not a joke."

The article stated:

Elon Musk, everybody's favorite eccentric billionaire, has done it again. This time, he's set his sights on the infamous Alcatraz island, which he plans to transform into a futuristic new Twitter headquarters. Yes, you read that right. The prison, once home to some of the country's most dangerous criminals, will soon be home to some of the country's most passionate Twitter employees.

According to Musk, the move is all about efficiency. "We need our most dedicated employees working around the clock to monetize Twitter," he declared in a recent press conference. "And what better place to do that than a former prison? The isolation, the lack of distractions, it's perfect."

But certain details of Musk's plan aren't as dystopian as you might fear, given the project's controversial context. He's promised to outfit the entire island with the latest and greatest technology, including self-driving golf carts and robot chefs. "All employees who are willing to sign their life over to me deserve the best," he said. "And that's what we're going to give them."

The article was an April Fools' Day joke, evidenced in part by the fact that there is no proof whatsoever that Musk is moving the Twitter headquarters there. If this were real, it would have been bigger news and covered by all major outlets. Alcatraz Island, which closed its doors as a prison in 1963, is currently designated a National Historic Landmark and is run by the National Park Service, which makes it impossible for it to be turned into a corporate office. 

The article also makes absurd claims about Musk's so-called employee incentives. If an employee comes up with a successful monetization strategy they get a "get out of jail free" card and can leave work early that day, supposedly. 

Musk also allegedly joked that old prison cells would become luxury offices. "We're going to keep the bars on the windows, of course," he joked in the article. "But we'll add some beanbag chairs and free snacks to make it more comfortable."

The photographs in the articles are also just AI renderings and sketches, not real images of a remodeled Alcatraz Island. 

Many pointed out that while the article was clearly (to most people) a joke, it still should have been made more obvious that this was an April Fools' Day prank:

We thus rate this claim as "Originated as Satire." 


"Alcatraz Closes Its Doors." HISTORY, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/alcatraz-closes-its-doors. Accessed 3 Apr. 2023.

"Elon Musk Shocks the World With Plans for Twitter's New HQ on Alcatraz Island." Architizer, 1 Apr. 2023, https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/stories/elon-musk-twitter-hq-alcatraz-island/.

"Alcatraz Island." U.S. National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/alca/learn/historyculture/index.htm. Accessed 3 Apr. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.