Musk allegedly shadowbanned the Twitter account tracking his private jet

Things have been changing since Musk took over the platform.
Ameya Paleja
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images 

Elonjet, the Twitter handle that tracks Elon Musk's private jet, has alleged that the platform has shadowbanned him, Business Insider reported. Jack Sweeney, who owns the handle along with scores of other handles that track the movements of private jets of other billionaires, revealed that a Twitter employee had contacted him earlier this month, informing him of the action taken by the platform.

Sweeney took to Twitter a couple of days ago to state that he had been contacted by an anonymous employee who shared with him screenshots of internal communication at Twitter.

Visibility Filtering or shadowbanning is used to make a user's profile or posts harder to find without actually alerting the user. Unlike a temporary or a permanent ban where the user is not allowed to post on the platform, a shadow ban lets a user post content but makes it difficult to be found even by followers of the handle, severely limiting its reach.

Musk's history with Elonjet

Jack Sweeney shot to fame after he began posting the whereabouts of Elon Musk's private jet using the publicly available information from the ADS-B Exchange, a database of unfiltered flight data.

Interesting Engineering has previously reported how Musk took exception to this information being shared and even offered Sweeney a cash reward to shut down the account. While Sweeney and Musk could not agree on fair compensation to do so, the account continued to automatically post updates about Musk's private jet.

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Back in April, when Musk first offered to buy out Twitter, Sweeney feared that the platform's new owner would surely shut down his account and created backup accounts on multiple other platforms in case such an event came to pass.

Twitter's acquisition saga ran well into October this year. Although Musk had said that he was against the practice of banning accounts just because his opinions differed from theirs, his newly acquired platform seems to have done something he has opposed in the past.

Musk's actions to prevent being spotted

In the Twitter thread, Sweeney also quoted other tweets which showed how his Elonjet account was not visible in search results on the platform. However, a day later, he added to the thread that his account was no longer shadowbanned.

It is hard to know now if the account was actually shadowbanned for a brief period, but Musk has certainly taken other actions to avoid being spotted in the air. In October, on Sweeney's recommendation, Musk turned to a free program from the Federal Aviation Authority that allowed him to keep the location of his plane away from the public eye using an anonymizer tail number.

However, it did not take Sweeney long to crack the new tail number, and the Elonjet account continued posting. The solution to Musk's problems might lie in how fellow billionaire Bernard Arnault has dealt with his plane being tracked by Twitter bots. Sell his private plane and rent others when needed.