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A 19-year-old who has a Twitter account dedicated to tracking Elon Musk's private jet has revealed why he turned down the billionaire's offer of $5,000 to end the operation.
Jack Sweeney launched the Elon Musk's Jet Twitter account in June 2020, using bots to scrape publicly available air traffic data and allowing followers to be updated on the movements of the SpaceX CEO's jet.
A fan of Musk's, Sweeney came up with the idea as a lockdown project and has since amassed more than 168,000 followers, but earlier this month Musk tweeted to say that accounts discussing his whereabouts were 'becoming a security issue.'
The entrepreneur contacted Sweeney in a bid to get him to end the tracking, with a screenshot shown to Insider showing Musk describe the account as a 'security risk'. Sweeney explained how he used bots to track the jet and gave Musk some advice on how to make it less trackable, with Musk asking: 'How about $5k for this account and generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me?'
The teenager said the offer sounded 'doable', but decided to shoot for more money as he responded: 'Any chance to up that to $50K?'
In an interview with Insider, Sweeney explained that he had 'done a lot of work' on the Twitter account and so he did not feel that $5,000 was 'enough'. He said it didn't warrant him giving up 'the fun [he has] in this, working on [the account]', but Musk later said it didn't 'feel right to pay to shut this down'.
Took off from Austin, Texas, US. pic.twitter.com/4CDTwh3dL5— Elon Musk's Jet (@ElonJet) January 30, 2022
The Tesla founder appears to have since taken some of Sweeney's advice by implementing a blocking system, though Sweeney explained that he just has to 'work around it'.
After Musk lost interest in the deal Sweeney said he decided to go public, explaining: 'He went the opposite way of me, so why wouldn't I go the opposite way of him?'
The teenager became interested in planes through his father, who works in aviation, and knew that tracking Musk's jet would 'reveal what business is going on and where he is going'.
Sweeney is currently in college, though has a part-time job working for a company called UberJets, which sees the teenager working on a platform to help track chartered flights so the company can find cheaper seats for customers.
Musk doesn't appear to have publicly responded after his messages were shared with reporters.
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Featured Image Credit: @JxckSweeney/Twitter/Alamy
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