Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Twitter permanently suspends an account that Musk promised not to block

Twitter on Wednesday suspended the automated account that was tracking billionaire Elon Musk’s private jet, even though the latter had previously promised not to block it.

The account, @ElonJet, was run by Jack Sweeney, a Florida college student, and has amassed more than half a million followers. The account was tracking the location of Musk’s plane using publicly available flight data.

On Wednesday, Sweeney posted a tweet saying, “Well, looks like ElonJet has been suspended,” and encouraged users to follow him on other platforms.

The 20-year-old told the media that he started the account in June 2020 because he admired Musk’s work at electric car maker Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX, where Musk is CEO of both companies.

Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion on October 28 and has been vocal about his efforts to protect freedom of expression on the site. And in early November, Musk claimed he was such a staunch advocate of freedom of expression that he would not ban his private jet tracking account, even though he described it as an “immediate risk to personal safety.”

However, Twitter employees appear to have received different instructions from Musk. Sweeney shared a series of tweets on Dec. 10 claiming that his account had been hiddenly banned, which means that Twitter intentionally limited access to the account.

Sweeney said an employee sent him a screenshot of the vice chair of the Twitter Trust and Safety Council requesting that ElonJet’s account be made invisible on Twitter. The Council of Trust and Safety was dissolved last Monday.

But on Dec. 12, Sweeney said in a tweet that it appeared as if the ElonJet account was no longer hidden or banned “in any way.”

As a result, Sweeney said he was surprised his account was suspended on Wednesday, especially since Musk promised he wouldn’t. and that Musk had previously offered him $5,000 to cancel the account; Because it poses a threat to his safety.

Sweeney also runs accounts dedicated to tracking the private flights of other public figures, such as Bill Gates, former US President Donald Trump, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

This, and the account tracking Musk’s plane is still active on Instagram and the instant messaging service Telegram.

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