Elon Musk, the new CEO of Twitter, has a private plane, and an account that follows its travels was suspended on Wednesday.
The suspended account @ElonJet tweeted later that evening to confirm that it was back online after “violating[ing] Twitter regulations.” Musk once more stopped the jet-tracking account after imposing new guidelines on all Twitter users, such as the prohibition on publishing anyone’s current location.
The account is managed by Florida college student and aviation enthusiast Jack Sweeney, who previously established similar “bot” accounts that tracked the aircraft of other celebrities. For hours after the @elonjet account was shut down, other Sweeney-run accounts that tracked the private jets of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and a number of Russian oligarchs were still operational on Twitter.
Later on Wednesday, Twitter suspended everyone of them, including Sweeney’s personal account. He also oversees profiles that follow Musk’s jet on rival social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
After Russia invaded Ukrαιпe in February, the account began keeping track of several Russian oligarchs’ flight paths.
The choice to suspend the account underlined worries surrounding the new Twitter CEO’s exclusive power over decisions involving platform content. After spending $44 bιllιon to acquire Twitter, Musk stated on November 7: “My dedication to free expression extends even to not blocking the account tracking my plane, even though that is a direct risk to my personal safety.”
But on Wednesday morning, Sweeney tweeted, “Well, it appears @ElonJet is suspended.”
He also sent a screenshot of the tweet that read, “After careful review, we found that your account violates the Twitter Rules. Your account is always in read-only mode, so you cannot Tweet, Retweet, or Like anything. You are unable to create any new accounts.
@ElonJet appears to have been suspended.
— Jack Sweeney (@JxckSweeney) on December 14, 2022
the and the t the the the a friend my a friend and the
‘Your account @elonjet was visibility limited/restricted to a significant degree internally on 2 Dec[ember] 2022,’ according to internal messages I received from a [unknown] Twitter employee. Written by Sweeney.
The vice-president of Twitter’s trust and safety council, Ella Irwin, is supposedly seen in the screenshot requesting that “strong VF [visibility filtering] to @elonjet quickly” be applied.
Screenshots depict Ella Irwin, Vice President of Twitter Trust and Safety, asking for strong visible filtering on Elonjet (pic.twitter.com/ehHJpo4zQR).
— Jack Sweeney on December 11, 2022 (@JxckSweeney)
The trust and safety council was dissolved on Monday. Sweeney tweeted the following day that it seemed @ElonJet was no longer blocked or hidden.
A request for comment on Wednesday went unanswered by Sweeney.
Earlier this year, Musk found the @ElonJet account and urged Sweeney to deactivate it.
“Can you remove this? He responded to Sweeney, “I don’t relish the concept of being shot by a nutcase. It is a security concern.
“And then he gives me $5,000 to make it tougher for others to follow him and to shut down the account, and I make my counter-offer,” Sweeney said to the Guardian in February.
Any possibility of increasing that to $50,000? It would be a huge help for me in college and would even enable me to buy a car—possibly a [Tesla] Model 3.”
Owner of the electric car manufacturer Tesla, Musk, refused to make restitution. Eventually, he Twitter blocked Sweeney.
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