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A Florida college student facing legal threats from Elon Musk for tracking his private jet on Twitter has labelled the tech billionaire a “hypocrite”.
Jack Sweeney, 20, told The Independent that he thought Mr Musk was bluffing when he threatened to sue after a “crazy stalker” allegedly attacked a automotive carrying certainly one of the Twitter CEO’s nine children in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Mr Musk tweeted that legal motion was being taken “against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family”, and promptly banned several Twitter accounts operated by him.
Mr Sweeney told The Independent he hadn’t heard any more from Mr Musk for the reason that tweet was posted, and didn’t expect to.
“I’m doing advantageous,” the University of Central Florida freshman said when reached at home on Thursday. “He’s just saying that on Twitter, there’s nothing official and there probably won’t be.”
Mr Sweeney first earned the ire of the world’s second wealthiest man after establishing the @Elonjet flight-tracking Twitter account in June 2020 using publicly available data.
He said Mr Musk sent him a non-public message last yr offering him $5,000 to shut the account, which he refused.
When the Tesla and SpaceX boss accomplished his $44bn takeover of Twitter in October, he pledged to permit @Elonjet to stay on the platform.
“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, although that may be a direct personal safety risk,” Mr Musk tweeted on 6 November.
My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
But in a tumultuous few days, the @Elonjet account which had greater than 500,000 followers has been banned, unbanned after which banned again by Mr Musk.
“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone can be suspended, because it is a physical safety violation,” Mr Musk tweeted on Wednesday night. “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.”
Mr Sweeney said that the last post from the @Elonjet account was made 24 hours before Wednesday night’s alleged stalker incident in Los Angeles.
He said it appeared Mr Musk was making up Twitter’s terms of service on the go to suit his own purposes.
“All the things he does is just out of nowhere and whatever he wants,” Mr Sweeney said.
Over the weekend, Mr Sweeney claimed to have received a leak from a source inside Twitter showing that the @elonjet account had been deliberately suppressed — or “shadow banned” — by the platform’s content moderators.
He posted a screenshot to his personal Twitter account apparently showing Ella Erwin, Twitter’s vp of trust and safety, asking team members to “apply heavy VF (visibility filtering) to @elonjet immediately.”
The Independent has not been capable of confirm the authenticity of the screenshot.
Mr Musk has claimed to have exposed how Twitter’s content moderators targeted conservatives for “shadow banning” prior to his takeover in the discharge of a cache of internal records which he called the “Twitter Files”.
Mr Sweeney said it appeared that Mr Musk was in favour of shadow banning accounts that he didn’t like, further illustrating his hypocrisy.
Jack Sweeney arrange Twitter bot accounts tracking the private jets of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk amongst others
(Instagram / Jack Sweeney)
Mr Sweeney also said he had been a longtime fan of the Tesla CEO, but — like many others — had grown bored with his polarising behaviour since purchasing Twitter.
“I still think Tesla and SpaceX are cool things that he does but he’s really spiralled the entire Twitter thing uncontrolled. It’s only one Twitter thing after one other.”
The freshman told The Independent that a lot of Twitter’s decisions for the reason that takeover had backfired on them, akin to introducing Twitter Blue checkmarks and allowing Kanye West back on the platform.
“I believe he must be a bit of bit more careful,” he said.
Mr Sweeney’s personal Twitter account has now been suspended, together with several others he arrange to trace private jets belonging to Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and several other Russian oligarchs.
Despite the specter of legal motion apparently hanging over him, Mr Sweeney said he has no plans to lawyer-up.
“For straight away we’re just seeing as we go, there’s not a reason to yet. It’s only a tweet,” he added.
The Independent didn’t immediately hear back after attempting to achieve Twitter and Mr Musk for comment.