>>114412Twitter Suspends Account That Tracked Musk's Jet Despite Free Speech Pledge
By Matt O'Brien / AP
Twitter on Wednesday suspended an account that used publicly available flight data to track Elon Musk’s private jet, despite a pledge by the social media platform’s new owner to keep it up because of his free speech principles.
But shortly afterward, the account was suspended again. That came after Musk tweeted that a “crazy stalker” attacked a car in Los Angeles carrying his young son.He also threatened legal action against Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old college sophomore and programmer who started the @elonjet flight-tracking account,
and “organizations who supported harm to my family.” It’s not clear what legal action Musk could take against Sweeney for an account that automatically posted public flight information.
Before Wednesday, the account had more than 526,000 followers.
“He said this is free speech and he’s doing the opposite,” Sweeney said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Sweeney said he woke up Wednesday to a flood of messages from people who saw that @elonjet was suspended and all its tweets had disappeared. Started in 2020 when Sweeney was a teenager, the account automatically posted the Gulfstream jet’s flights with a map and an estimate of the amount of jet fuel and carbon emissions it expended.
He logged into Twitter and saw a notice that the account was permanently suspended for breaking Twitter’s rules. But the note didn’t explain how it broke the rules.
Sweeney said he immediately filed an online form to appeal the suspension. Later, his personal account was also suspended, with a message saying it violated Twitter’s rules “against platform manipulation and spam.”
And then hours later, the flight-tracking account was back again, before it was shut down anew. Musk and Twitter’s policy team had sought to publicly explain Wednesday that Twitter now has new rules.“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” Musk tweeted. “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”
“Doxxing” refers to disclosing online someone’s identity, address, or other personal details.For Sweeney, it was the latest in a longtime tangle with the billionaire. The University of Central Florida student said Musk last year sent him a private message offering $5,000 to take the jet-tracking account down, citing security concerns.
Musk later stopped communicating to Sweeney, who never deleted the account. Their exchange was first reported by tech news outlet Protocol earlier this year.
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