Update, 12/14/22, 5:50 PM ET: Twitter has now updated its private information and media policy to prohibit sharing live location information. When @ElonJet was banned, this policy was not yet public, and there was a multiple hour delay between the banning of @ElonJet and other flight tracker accounts.
“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk tweeted on November 6. Over the last month, it seems Musk changed his mind.
Jack Sweeney, the University of Central Florida student who created @ElonJet, also operated similar bots that track private jet activity of tech moguls like Mark Zuckerberg. Yet none of Sweeney’s other accounts have been affected, including an account that tracks the travel of Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk.
Update, 12/14/22, 2:30 PM ET: Jack Sweeney’s personal account has been banned from Twitter, along with the accounts of the other automated flight trackers that he operated.
The account has been a sore spot for Musk for a long time. In January, Musk DMed Sweeney on Twitter and offered the student $5,000 to delete @ElonJet, but he turned down the offer.
“Any chance to up that to $50k? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car maybe even a Model 3,” Sweeney responded, according to DMs obtained by Protocol at the time.
Unfortunately, Musk would not be paying Sweeney’s tuition.
According to Sweeney, @ElonJet has been under close watch at Twitter HQ. He posted on his personal account that an anonymous Twitter employee told him that his account was visibility limited on December 2. Sweeney also posted a screenshot, allegedly leaked from Twitter’s internal Slack, that appears to show Trust and Safety VP Ella Irwin asking that the team immediately apply high visibility filtering to @ElonJet. TechCrunch emailed Irwin for confirmation of the message’s legitimacy.
After being suspended from Twitter, Sweeney set up an Elon Jet account on Mastodon.