Elon Musk takes legal action to stop his jet from being tracked

A twitter account that tracks the billionaire’s jet is putting his son’s life at risk, argues the CEO.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Elon Musk and the Twitter logo
Elon Musk and the Twitter logo

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Yesterday, Elon Musk announced that he was seeking legal action against a 20-year old Twitter user that was tracking his private jet, arguing that the account was putting his son’s life at risk. This is according to a report by the BBC published on Thursday.

“Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood. Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family,” the billionaire wrote on Twitter.

Last January, Musk offered Jack Sweeney, the account’s creator and poster, $ 5000 dollars to delete it. 

The account, called the "Elon Musk's Jet"(@ElonJet), monitors the movements of the billionaire's private jet via bots that are always reporting air traffic data. This is public information, simply reposted to Twitter, which means Sweeney is breaking no laws.

Despite this, Sweeney received a message in the fall of 2021 which read: "Can you take this down? It is a security risk.” Sweeney then responded: "Yes I can but it'll cost you a Model 3 only joking unless?" 

A counter offer that was refused

That is when Musk offered to pay the college student $5,000. Sweeney countered his offer by saying: "Any chance to up that to $50k? It would be a great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car maybe even a Model 3.”

Musk, who is known for being notoriously cheap, said he would consider the deal but never went ahead with it. The saga has continued with Twitter now suspending both Sweeney’s personal account and his jet-tracking account.

Sweeney’s other accounts that track the private flights of other wealthy Americans, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, have also been suspended since Wednesday afternoon. 

A change of mind

In the past, Musk had said he would keep the accounts running but on Wednesday evening he tweeted:  "Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info." 

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Twitter's Help Center also tweeted an updated media policy that states: "You may not publish or post other people's private information without their express authorization and permission." 

Sweeney told the BBC that he did not believe that Musk’s stalker incident had anything to do with his account. This may very well be the case but there’s no doubt that tracking the movements of famous people can be dangerous. 

Although Musk is known for his occasional erratic impulsive behavior, it does seem that in this case he is right in suspending all accounts tracking people.