A teenager tracking Elon Musk’s private flights has demanded $50,000 from the multi-billionaire to stop tweeting his movements. He also made the same offer to the other billionaires and celebrities he tracks. If only a few owners of the more than one hundred jets he is publicly tracking decide to take his offer, he could become a millionaire!
Jack Sweeney, 19, has created several automated Twitter bots that track the flights of notable celebrities like Musk. Sweeney also has accounts for Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, and Drake.
Landed near Harlingen, Texas, US. Apx. flt. time 25 Mins. pic.twitter.com/DLNGCTxftm
— Elon Musk's Jet (@ElonJet) February 1, 2022
Sweeney’s accounts have drawn massive amounts of attention, causing the college student to create a website called Ground Control where Sweeney creates unique tracking bots at fans’ request.
“They’re either really prominent people or just like really interesting,” Sweeney told the Guardian. “Lately I have been adding people that [followers] have requested.”
These fresh additions are that of Cuban and Drake who Sweeney remarked has “the biggest plane out of all of them, it is a giant being.”
But despite the popularity of Sweeney’s accounts, some of their subjects have taken issue with them, citing them as a security risk. Musk has urged Sweeney to take down @ElonJet, direct messaging him “Can you take this down? It is a security risk. I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase.”
Teen turns down $5,000 from Elon Musk to stop tracking his jet
Sweeney said that he first felt a burst of excitement seeing the message: “I was just about to go to sleep actually, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh Elon just messaged me to take down my account’,” he said. “It was insane.”
“And then he offers me $5,000 to make it harder for people to track him and to take down the account, and I make my counter-offer.”
Sweeney’s counter-offer, $50,000, was firmly rebuffed by the world’s richest man, who has a $220 billion fortune.
Sweeney then asked the Tesla CEO if he would be willing to give him an internship at the electric vehicle company in exchange for deleting the account.
“That was the last thing I said [to Musk],” he said. “And then he blocked me.”
Sweeney says that although he acknowledges the validity of a security risk, he also believes that this may be misleading. The teenager says that billionaires like Musk and Gates have robust security teams and that his fears were not grounded in threats but “just worry.”
Although Musk never responded to Sweeney’s last offer, the accounts have led to recognition. Sweeney, who is a freshman at the University of Central Florida, was offered a job at Stratos jet Charters in Orland, Florida, as a result of the attention his accounts have received.
“It was pretty cool. They’re UCF alumni, so it’s pretty interesting,” Sweeney told the New York Post. “There’s just a lot of UCF that think it’s cool.”