Twitter suspends account tracking Elon Musk’s jet after ‘stalker’ follows his child

FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award in Berlin on Dec. 1, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Elon Musk is threatening to take legal action against a 20-year-old college student who tweeted live updates on the comings and goings of his private jet.

Twitter CEO Musk claims that the @ElonJet account was used to facilitate the harassment of X Æ A-12, the child he shares with Canadian pop star Grimes.

Jack Sweeney, a university student from Florida, ran a host of accounts that tracked the private jets of the rich and powerful, including Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Vladimir Putin. But on Wednesday afternoon, his account tracking the Tesla CEO’s plane was suddenly suspended.

Then, a number of Sweeney’s other pages tracking public figures were suspended too — as well as his personal account @JxckSweeney.

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Amid the purge, Twitter updated its media and private information policy, seemingly to justify the removal of the accounts. Twitter users are now prohibited from sharing “live location information” and “other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”

The new restrictions were not part of Twitter’s existing policies until this week, CNN reported.

The @ElonJet account had amassed at least 500,000 followers before it was suspended on Wednesday. Sweeney used publicly available flight information to run his jet-tracking accounts.

Read more: Elon Musk is changing what you see on your Twitter feed. Here’s how

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On Wednesday night, Musk tweeted the apparent reason behind the rule change, writing: “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation.” (Doxxing refers to the act of publishing information on the internet that identifies an individual, usually maliciously.)

Replying to his own tweet, Musk alleged that, “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 onto hood.”

“Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.”

Musk followed up the thread with a video of the alleged “crazy stalker,” who was wearing a face mask inside a white Hyundai. Musk wrote, “Anyone recognize this person or car?”

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Musk had taken issue with the @ElonJet account in the past. CNN reported that Sweeney was offered US$5,000 by the Twitter CEO to delete the page.

Sweeney gave a $50,000 counteroffer, which Musk declined. The billionaire then pledged to keep the account running even though it posed a “direct personal safety risk” to him.

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Musk clarified that the new restrictions around “live location sharing” do not apply to location updates given on a “slightly delayed basis.”

Twitter’s Help Centre writes that it is permissible to share “publicly available location information after a reasonable time has elapsed, so that the individual is no longer at risk for physical harm.”

Sweeney said he plans to comply with the new policy and would delay posting the whereabouts of Musk’s jet by 24 hours, “but just on Twitter,” he said.

This week, Musk sold another $3.58-billion worth of Tesla stock. The entrepreneur has shed about $23-billion worth of Tesla stock since April, according to the Associated Press.


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