Elon Musk has permanently suspended the Twitter account of a Florida teen who has been tracking the movements of his private jet.
Jack Sweeney, 19, has been tracking Musk’s private Gulfstream jet since 2020 by obtaining public Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data.
Sweeney created the Twitter automated page called @ElonJet to keep his followers updated with Musk’s whereabouts.
The 19-year-old predicted the suspension and has linked his followers to back-up pages on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram.
It comes after Musk vowed not to ban the account following his $44 billion takeover and just months after the account was ‘shadow banned’ making it unsearchable and unable to be tagged.
Jack Sweeney, 19, has been tracking new Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s private Gulfstream jet since 2020 by obtaining public Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data
Musk is the owner off a Gulfstream G650ER business jet, valued at $70million and is seen here leaving the aircraft in Los Angeles in February
He posted a tweet on his person account @JxckSweeney on Wednesday confirming the suspension.
‘Well it appears @ElonJet is suspended,’ he wrote on Wednesday.
News of the accounts suspension was shared quickly across the social media platform, with others also posting about the removal, some taking a swipe at Musk.
One user wrote: ‘It looks like @elonmusk has killed the account that was tracking the location of his jet (using publicly available information).’
Another said: ‘Mr Free Speech absolutist strikes again. What a snowflake. @ElonJet suspended.’
The suspension comes after users found they could no longer search for the automated account, or tag it in tweets through suggested usernames.
The reason for the heavy restriction on its accessibility, according to the bot’s creator was that Twitter staffers had dampened the account in a targeted effort.
At the weekend Sweeney wrote: ‘About to release my own Twitter files. Thanks whistleblowers.’
The 19-year-old Florida student posted a tweet on his person account @JxckSweeney on Wednesday confirming the suspension
The 19-year-old predicted the suspension and has linked his followers to back-up pages on Facebook , Instagram and Telegram
Sweeney has created a Twitter automated page called @ElonJet to keep his followers updated with Musk’s whereabouts
Twitter followers will be met with a suspended account page, when searching for @ElonJet, rather than updates on Musk’s whereabouts
Internal company messages shared with Sweeney by an ‘anonymous Twitter employee’ reflected that the @elonjet account had been ‘visibility limited/restricted to a severe degree’ beginning December 2.
A screenshot of what he claimed was an internal Slack channel showed Ella Irwin, the person appointed to replace Yoel Roth as Twitter’s new head of trust and safety, asking a ‘Team’ to ‘please apply heavy VF to @elonjet immediately.’
‘VF’ stands for ‘visibility filtering,’ which blacklists or ‘shadow-bans’ certain accounts by shielding their content from other users. That the term is used by Twitter employees internally.
Some users called Musk a ‘hypocrite’ after he made promises shortly after the $44 billion takeover that he was committed to ‘free speech.’
‘My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,’ he said in November.
In 2016 Elon Musk purchased a $66.5 million Gulfstream G650ER, (model pictured) a favorite aircraft among the one percent – including Cristiano Ronaldo and Jeff Bezos
The Gulfstream G650ER jets (model pictured) features fold up tables stowed at the side of the plane can be combined to form a large dining room table to feed any guest on board
Sweeney’s concerns of suspension stemmed from an online conversation he had with his idol last year when Musk asked him to stop tracking his jet.
In November 2021, the South African-Canadian-American tycoon reportedly contacted Sweeney and offered the coder $5,000 to delete his jet tracking account, claiming security concerns were the main reason for his reluctance to have his location shared publicly at all times.
However, Sweeney rejected the four-digit offer and instead made his own demands: a $50,000 pay-out, and an internship or a Tesla Model 3, according to screenshots of their conversation shared online at the time.
Now that Musk broke the bank to become Twitter’s CEO by buying every single one of the company’s stock at $54.20 per share, Sweeney said that he might just spike his offer.
’It would definitely have to be a pretty good deal now, because it’s gone on for so long,’ Sweeney added. ‘Definitely a Tesla, fully paid for and everything.’
Elon Musk suspended Sweeney’s account, but the 19-year-old had predicted the move and has linked his followers to back-up pages on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram
Sweeney’s concerns that his popular @ElonJet page might be removed are based on an online conversation he had with Musk in November 2021
The teen has also constantly faced online backlash for sharing Musk’s travels.
He once revealed how he received a flurry of ‘really abusive’ messages from Musk’s fans questioning the morality of his page’s activity since its creation two years ago.
‘There are some on Twitter who don’t like what I am doing,’ Sweeney once told The Independent.
‘I get rude direct messages, but the really bad ones I report, and the accounts are eventually taken down.’
After Musk Purchased Twitter, he shared his vision of what there is to come through a company statement: ‘Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.’
He also said at the time that he planned to improve Twitter by adding subscription deals, adding new features such as the ‘edit’ button, sharing more transparency on the platform’s algorithms and removing spam bots.