Dec 14, 2022
Twitter suspends the accounts tracking Musk’s jet and the man behind it
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Twitter Inc. has suspended Jack Sweeney and the account he runs on the social media platform known as @elonjet, which tracks the movements of Elon Musk’s private jet.
As of early Wednesday morning in New York, the @elonjet page showed a message that read “account suspended” with an explanation that Twitter suspends accounts that violate the platform’s rules. Later in the day, Sweeney’s personal account had also been suspended.
Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion in late October and has set about making sometimes drastic changes regarding how the platform operates. Last month, Musk said in a tweet that his commitment to free speech “extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”
Sweeney, who has run the account since June 2020, told Bloomberg News that, upon logging into the account, his Twitter page stated: “Your account is permanently suspended. After careful review we determined your account broke the Twitter rules. Your account is permanently in read-only mode.”
The last tweet before Sweeney’s own account was suspended read, “Can I have my $8 back?,” a reference to the ill-fated Twitter subscription service launched and then shuttered by Musk.
Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, said he hasn’t received any other notices from Twitter via email or other mediums.
“Musk literally said he wouldn’t do anything because he protects free speech, but this is the exact opposite,” Sweeney said by phone.
The @elonjet account tracks the movements of Musk’s private jet using publicly available flight data and gives automated alerts.
Sweeney, 20, turned down a $5,000 offer from the Tesla CEO in 2021 to shut down his bot account and countered with a demand to boost the payout to $50,000. Musk made multiple attempts to contact him to ask to shut it down, Sweeney has said.
Sweeney operates other automated accounts through a business called Ground Control, including accounts that follow celebrity jets and one that purports to track planes used by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.