Elon Musk says 'crazy stalker' followed his toddler

Father of 10 says car carrying his son, X, was attacked, prompting him to overhaul policy for accounts sharing real-time location

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Elon Musk on Wednesday said a "crazy stalker" climbed on to the bonnet of the car that was carrying his toddler son and blocked it from moving.

The incident seemingly prompted the father of 10 to announce a new policy for Twitter accounts providing real-time location information.

Mr Musk said the stalker had followed the car because he or she thought the billionaire was in the vehicle.

The child in the car was "X", whose mother is singer-songwriter Grimes and who was born in May 2020. The name is short for the unusual X Æ A-12.

"Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker [thinking it was me], who later blocked car from moving and climbed on to hood," Mr Musk said on Twitter.

The message was linked to an earlier tweet in which he said he was banning accounts that "doxx", or illegally provide real-time location information.

The new Twitter owner specifically targeted a bot account tracking his private jet and he said he was taking legal action against its owner, Jack Sweeney, 20.

Mr Musk did not explain or provide context on how an account tracking his private jet might have given information that could have tipped a stalker off to the location of his car.

The ElonJet account run by Mr Sweeney and the student's own account were suspended as of Wednesday night.

The jet tracker followed the flight patterns of Mr Musk's jet by using data available in the public domain.

The suspension goes against Mr Musk's November tweet confirming his commitment to free speech “extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk”.

It was the latest in a series of social media policy changes made by Mr Musk on the fly.

Twitter published a newly updated policy on the same day about private information, stating that tweets cannot share someone else's location.

It indirectly mentions accounts such as ElonJet, saying “live location information [and] identifying information that would reveal a person's location, regardless if this information is publicly available”, breached the policy.

Twitter users expressed confusion about the new policy on public figures or events.

Mr Sweeney operates similar bot accounts tracking Mr Musk's jet on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram.

He tweeted on Saturday that Ella Irwin, Twitter's vice president of trust and safety, requested the account be monitored and less visible to users.

He previously said he had turned down a $5,000 offer from Mr Musk in 2021 to shut down the bot account.

The ElonJet account had more than 490,000 followers on Twitter. Its follower count grew when it temporarily returned. It has now been closed again.

Mr Sweeney said he used public data to track Mr Musk's jets and those carrying other celebrities, and that he condemned the use of the account for “tracking you down and anyone looking for you in person”.

Twitter accounts tracking the jets of billionaire tech entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have also been suspended.

Mr Musk's stalker story comes during a tumultuous time for the eccentric Tesla co-founder. Stocks in the electric car maker are in free-fall as Mr Musk dives deeper into America's culture wars.

He this week lost the crown of world's richest man and financial analysts expect Tesla stock to plunge much further.

Mr Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October and has set about making sometimes drastic changes on how the platform operates.

He has made sweeping cuts to the company’s workforce, including those responsible for trust and safety, and has been making his own content decisions, such as reinstating the accounts of people including former president Donald Trump, who had previously been suspended.

Elon Musk booed on stage at Dave Chappelle show in San Francisco

Elon Musk booed on stage at Dave Chappelle show in San Francisco

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: December 15, 2022, 1:55 AM