Featured Image Credit: @JxckSweeney/Twitter/Alamy
The teenager who tracked Elon Musk’s private jet has admitted he fears he could be kicked off Twitter following the Tesla billionaire’s takeover.
Yesterday it was confirmed that a deal had been struck for Musk to buy the social media platform for a cool $44 billion, with the SpaceX founder saying he wants Twitter to be a better place for free speech, which he says is ‘the bedrock of a functioning democracy’.
But there’s someone who isn’t quite so sure if their profile will still be welcome on the site, having created a bot that tracks the movements of Musk’s private jet.
Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old student from Florida, is the coder behind the Twitter account @ElonJet, which has more than 422,000 followers.
This account has every right to post jet whereabouts, ADS-B data is public, every aircraft in the world is required to have a transponder, Even AF1 (@AirForceTrack) Twitter policy states data found on other sites is allowed to be shared here as well. pic.twitter.com/Wol8O1DRiq— Elon Musk's Jet (@ElonJet) January 18, 2022
Last year, Musk unsuccessfully tried to get Sweeney to shut it down, offering him $5,000 to do so. Sweeney made a counter-offer of $50,000, an internship or a Tesla Model 3, but Musk never responded.
According to Sweeney, in January, Musk then blocked not only his personal account, but also the private jet account and the third account he made to track jets for SpaceX.
This means the teenager is unsure whether or not his account will remain online in the wake of the buyout, telling Insider: "It's hard to think that he wouldn't do something.”
However, Sweeney said he’d still be interested in making an agreement with Musk to take the bot down.
"It would definitely have to be a pretty good deal now, because it's gone on for so long. Definitely a Tesla, fully paid for and everything.”
But it seems Musk may not be getting rid of him anytime soon, having announced yesterday just before the deal was closed that he wants his ‘worst critics’ to remain on the platform.
Musk tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because this is what free speech means.”
After things were finalised, he also shared a statement about the purchase on Twitter, saying: "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.
"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.
"Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."
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