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Elon Musk Takes Legal Action Against Twitter User Who Tracked His Jet

Elon Musk twitter tracked jet
Elon Musk bans the Twitter account that tracked his jet. Credit: Daniel Oberhaus / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 4.0

Elon Musk said on Wednesday he is taking legal action against the holder of a Twitter account that tracks his private jet, arguing it put his son at risk.

The @ElonJet account, which has more than half a million followers, was suspended on Wednesday. Its owner, Jack Sweeney, 20, used publicly available flight-tracking information to tweet every time Musk’s jet took off and landed.

“Last night, [a] car carrying [his son] lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving and climbed onto hood,” Musk tweeted.

He added that any account revealing people’s real-time locations will be suspended “as it is a physical safety violation.”

Sweeney, a college student in the state of Florida, shared a screenshot with CNN of a message from Twitter saying the social media company had conducted a “careful review” and had decided to permanently ban the account for violating Twitter’s rules.

Before Wednesday, the account had more than 526,000 followers.

The student who tracked Musk’s jet on Twitter

“He said this is free speech and he’s doing the opposite,” Sweeney said in an interview with the Associated Press.

For Sweeney, it was the latest in a longtime tangle with the billionaire. Last year, he said that Musk sent him a private message offering five thousand dollars to take the jet-tracking account down, citing security concerns. Musk later stopped communicating to Sweeney, who never deleted the account. Their exchange was first reported by tech news outlet Protocol earlier this year.

But after buying Twitter for $44 billion in late October, Musk said he would let it stay. “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 6th.

The student is in charge of dozens of other accounts that track the private flights of wealthy Americans, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

Many of those accounts, including one tracking aircraft associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and another monitoring celebrity jets, appeared to be suspended on Twitter as well on Wednesday afternoon.

Twitter’s Help Center has tweeted an updated media policy that begins: “You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”

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