Elon Musk may be in hot water over his recent decision to suspend several verified users after they impersonated him on Twitter, but the Tesla CEO still maintains that he is a free speech advocate. Musk highlighted this by stating that he would not be banning a Twitter account that tracks his private jet, even if the account gives him a “direct personal risk.”
The account, which operates under the handle @ElonJet, is run by Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student. Sweeney’s account utilizes publicly accessible air traffic data to post updates on the time and location of Musk’s jet’s takeoffs and landings, as well as the duration of each flight. Sweeney manages around 30 accounts that perform similar tasks.
Musk had previously asked Sweeney to take the @ElonJet account offline. Back in January, reports emerged stating that Musk had offered Sweeney $5,000 to delete the account, though the student declined the offer and asked for $50,000 instead. Musk reportedly also declined the student’s request. Musk and the college student appear to have reached an impasse, however, as the CEO now seems to be utilizing a privacy tool that Sweeney had reportedly suggested, which would aid in preventing airplane tracking.
Amid the recent drama on Twitter following Musk’s takeover of the platform, the Tesla CEO noted that his commitment to free speech extends even to accounts that could be a personal risk to him. “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 wrote.
In a statement to Insider, Sweeney noted that he is “pleased” that Musk had addressed his account amidst his takeover of Twitter. The student noted, however, that he was not surprised about the CEO’s decision. “I kind of figured that was his stance because if it wasn’t, people would be after him for saying one thing and then coming and banning my account. It’s still cool to see that he actually said something and acknowledged my account,” Sweeney noted.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to give us a heads up.