Elon Musk taking legal action over Twitter account that tracks his private jet

Twitter's owner says an account tracking his private jet has put his son's safety at risk.

Elon Musk taking legal action over Twitter account that tracks his private jet
Elon Musk

Twitter's owner says an account tracking his private jet has put his son's safety at risk.

Elon Musk says he is taking legal action against the holder of a Twitter account that tracks his private jet, arguing it put his son at risk.

The @ElonJet account, which has more than half a million followers, was suspended on Wednesday.

Its owner Jack Sweeney, 20, used publicly available flight-tracking information to tweet every time Mr Musk's jet took off and landed.

Mr Musk says legal action is now being taken against Mr Sweeney and others.

"Last night, car carrying [his son] lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving and climbed onto hood," he tweeted.

He added that any account revealing people's real-time locations will be suspended "as it is a physical safety violation".

Mr Sweeney denied the incident was related to his account when asked by the BBC.

It comes after he confirmed on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday that the profile had been suspended.

That evening, Mr Sweeney's account appeared to have been reactivated. He tweeted: "Yes I am back!" Minutes later it was listed again as suspended. His personal account, @JxckSweeney, has also been frozen.

Mr Sweeney, a college student in the state of Florida, shared a screenshot with CNN of a message from Twitter saying the social media company had conducted a "careful review" and had decided to permanently ban the account for violating Twitter's rules.

The student is in charge of dozens of other accounts that track the private flights of wealthy Americans, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

Many of those accounts - including one tracking aircraft associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and another monitoring celebrity jets - appeared to be suspended on Twitter as well on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Musk had long taken issue with the @ElonJet account, and once reportedly offered Mr Sweeney $5,000 to delete it.

Mr Sweeney told US media outlets that Mr Musk ultimately told him it did not feel right to pay to have the account shut down.

And a month ago, Mr Musk pledged to keep it running even though it was a "direct personal safety risk".

But Mr Musk tweeted on Wednesday evening: "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."

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

Since taking the helm at Twitter, Mr Musk has made a host of changes to its moderation practices.

He has restored a handful of previously banned accounts, including former President Donald Trump's profile, which was banned following the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol.

The Tesla CEO has also slashed the social media company's staff and has reportedly stopped paying rent for some of Twitter's offices, including the company's San Francisco headquarters, according to the New York Times.

Investors have questioned whether his recent takeover of Twitter has diverted his attention from his electric car business.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, he sold another 22 million shares, worth $3.58bn (£2.9bn), in the company.

It brings the total of Tesla stocks sold by Mr Musk over the past year to almost $40bn.

By Madeline Halpert & Marita Moloney
BBC News