"I Can’t Let Him Win Now": The Student Behind The Suspended Twitter Account That Tracked Elon Musk's Private Jet Vowed To Fight On


 “I'm fairly surprised, particularly after [Musk] put out a tweet saying he would not do it,” 20-year-old Jack Sweeney said of the suspension.

Jack Sweeney first learned that @ElonJet, his Twitter account monitoring Elon Musk’s private jet travel, was banned when he woke up this morning to a notification telling him that the profile had been completely suspended from Twitter.

The 20-year-old University of Central Florida student had arrange @ElonJet as one of of a slew of flight-tracking bots, which use the ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) system to monitor flight paths. But as of this morning, solely @ElonJet had been banned.

(That modified shortly after publication of this story, when Twitter suspended Sweeney's private account — for violating guidelines "against platform manipulation and spam" — and a few two dozen others he ran. By early evening, @ElonJet was again for a brief period, solely to be suspended again.)

“I'm fairly surprised, particularly after he put out a tweet saying he would not do it,” Sweeney told BuzzFeed News, referring to the @ElonJet suspension. “But I guess after the final commotion over the weekend, he is probably not too happy about all that.”

The “commotion” Sweeney was referring to was his tweets in which he claimed that @ElonJet had been suppressed by Twitter's moderation system as of Dec. 2. Sweeney posted a screenshot allegedly showing Ella Erwin, Twitter’s vice president of belief and safety, asking that team members “apply heavy VF [visibility filtering] to @elonjet immediately.”

BuzzFeed News was unable to authenticate the legitimacy of the screenshot Sweeney provided. The student claimed he was given it by an nameless supply via an untraceable burner email. Neither Musk nor Twitter’s press relations team, which reportedly no longer exists, instantly responded to a request for comment.

Sweeney knew he risked elevating Musk’s ire by posting the purportedly leaked internal message. “From the beginning, he wanted me to disappear,” he said. (Musk earlier this year offered the student $5,000 to delete the account. Sweeney, who beforehand told Rolling Stone he arrange the Twitter account because he was a fan of Musk's, declined.)

The student titled his tweets on the supposed shadow ban his “Twitter Files” — the identical factor Musk has been calling a series of Twitter threads, written by journalists of his choosing, on the internal workings of the company. “I'm sure that angered him,” Sweeney said. “But nonetheless, it is nonetheless a shock to many individuals after he publicly said he would not do it.”

@ElonJet's creator said the account’s suspension confirmed the risk caused by a single, impulsive particular person having total management of a social media platform. “It simply shows that they can play the guidelines however they need to, really, for whoever they want,” he said.

He believed Twitter would attempt to excuse the ban as a half of a broader crackdown on automated bot accounts, however he was surprised that the corporate didn’t give a reason for banning @ElonJet. “It could be actually any variety of issues at this point, couldn’t it?” he said.

Later within the day, Musk offered his reasoning behind the suspensions (now official Twitter policy).

Sweeney said he intends to proceed the work of @ElonJet elsewhere. “I’ll definitely be paying extra consideration to different platforms,” he said. He additionally told BuzzFeed News that he’s engaged on a web site model of @ElonJet. The reason he’s urgent on with the project is simple: “It's important to carry people accountable, it doesn't matter what side they're on.”

The ban appeared to have energized Sweeney. “Now I'm going to maintain going on forever,” he said. “I guess I can’t let him win now.”


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