Elon Musk allows account tracking his private jet to remain on Twitter

A financial offer by the billionaire to close the account was previously rejected by Jack Sweeney, who runs the account

Elon Musk's private jet has been tracked by a Twitter account run by student Jack Sweeney. AFP
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Elon Musk will allow the Twitter account that tracks his private jet to remain on the social media platform after the billionaire's $44 billion buyout of the company.

Mr Musk, who has previously voiced his discontent at the account, run by student Jack Sweeney, tweeted on Monday 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”.

Mr Sweeney's ElonJet account has more than 490,000 followers on Twitter. He said he uses public data to track Mr Musk's jets and those carrying other celebrities.

He thanked Mr Musk for his “commitment to free speech”, and said his account's followers are “supporters and admirers of your endeavors. Which was my (@JxckSweeney) motivation for creating @ElonJet”.

He said he also condemned the use of the account for “tracking you down and anyone looking for you in person”.

Mr Sweeney then said that he was willing to talk to Mr Musk “peacefully” about taking down the account.

“I was just not happy with previous terms we had discussed,” he said, in reference to his request earlier this year for Mr Musk to pay him $50,000 to remove the account, or give him an internship.

Mr Musk had offered $5,000 for him to remove it, having earlier contacted Mr Sweeney to request that he stop tracking his flights.

The jets of other well-known people such as Tom Cruise, Kylie Jenner, Harrison Ford, Mark Wahlberg, Tiger Woods, Travis Scott and Kim Kardashian are tracked by Mr Sweeney's @CelebJets account.

He has previously said that if he was removed from Twitter, he would continue tracking Mr Musk's private jet on other social media platforms and his own website.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Musk had further addressed the subject of suspended Twitter accounts amid his quest for free speech.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying 'parody' will be permanently suspended,” he tweeted.

“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”

Free speech or not, advertisers said they were concerned about content moderation of rising hate speech and misinformation.

Mr Musk also has tweeted misinformation himself, as recently as Wednesday before deleting the tweet without an explanation.

With the loss of half of Twitter's staff, there are worries inaccurate information — whether intended or not — may be left to spread with little or no moderation as the US votes in the 2020 midterm elections.

He said he wanted Twitter to be “a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence”.

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Updated: November 07, 2022, 9:57 AM
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