- Twitter on Wednesday suspended the @ElonJet account that tracks Elon Musk’s jet.
- Other jet tracking accounts, including a tracking of Mark Zuckerberg’s plane, were also suspended later Wednesday.
- The man running the account has previously expressed concern that Musk will ban the account.
On Wednesday, Elon Musk’s Twitter account suspended the account that follows the billionaire’s private jet.
Twenty-year-old Jack Sweeney had over 30 jet tracking accounts on Twitter who follow many public figures, including Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg, as well as celebrities like Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian.
On Wednesday, Sweeney’s @elonjet Twitter account featured a notice that it had been suspended because “Twitter is suspending accounts that violate Twitter rules.”
Twitter then temporarily suspended Sweeney’s @ElonJet account. The account was briefly Tweeter Wednesday before it was apparently suspended again.
The Twitter accounts of @elonjet, @ZuccJet and @CelebJets were also suspended as of 3 a.m. ET Thursday.
Sweeney, Musk and a Twitter spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Wednesday Musk said in a tweet any account doxxing anyone’s real-time location information will be suspended, “because it is a breach of physical security.”
He expanded on security issues, citing an incident with a stalker. Insider could not independently verify Musk’s claims. The LAPD, or the Los Angeles Police Department, told Insider they couldn’t find the unaddressed Musk incident.
Twitter has updated its private information policy to prohibit users from sharing people’s live locations.
In a thread Explaining the updates, the Twitter Safety account posted: “When someone shares an individual’s live location on Twitter, there is an increased risk of physical harm. Going forward, we will be removing Tweets who share this information and accounts dedicated to sharing someone else’s life location will be suspended.”
Twitter users can always share their own live location and someone else’s historical location, defined like “not the same day”.
The suspension could be part of Musk’s attempts to start bot accounts off the platform, as Sweeney’s accounts use bots to post travel data from the ADS-B Exchange, which is a site Independent aircraft tracking web that uses publicly available data to display an aircraft. location.
Musk has been very vocal on Twitter this week about his plans to take down the bots, saying on Saturday that “the bots are in for a real surprise.” On Tuesday, Platformer reported that Twitter accidentally blocked dozens of real Twitter users from accessing the site while trying to weed out spam accounts.
Earlier this week, Sweeney said in a Twitter thread that he learned from an anonymous Twitter employee that his account had been banned or partially blocked without his knowledge, which was later confirmed by Insider.
Sweeney shared a screenshot internal messages from Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, asking her team to apply high visibility filtering to the ElonJet account, which would limit its reach.
Musk has expressed concern about how Jack Sweeney’s aircraft tracking account, @elonjet, might impact his personal safety in the past, but said in november that he would not delete the account.
“My commitment to free speech even goes so far as not to ban the account that follows my plane, even if it’s a direct risk to personal safety,” the billionaire tweeted about a week after buying Twitter.
When Musk first offered to buy Twitter, Sweeney said he thought it was likely Musk would try to shut down the account. The 20-year-old student turned down a $5,000 offer from Musk to take the account down last year after the billionaire called the account a “security risk” and said he didn’t want to be ” shot by a madman”.
Before Musk took control of jet tracking accounts, the Federal Aviation Administration already had two free programs in place that could help planes fly incognito, but they’re not foolproof.
The first is Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed, also known as LADD, which allows private aircraft owners to dodge aircraft tracking software that uses FAA data, such as FlightAware or Flightradar24. This means that when searching, these tail numbers will be blocked from public view.
The second program is called the “ICAO Private Aircraft Address”, or PIA, which allows aircraft owners to replace their tail number with a temporary number that is not used by any other aircraft, allowing them to fly incognito.
According to the FAA, more than 300 PIAs have been issued since December 2019, but they told Insider that they and LADD “still don’t guarantee absolute confidentiality.”
This is because ADS-B Exchange does not use FAA data but instead uses data from ADS-B equipped aircraft which broadcast information such as speed and GPS position. Therefore, the website shows both LADD and PIA aircraft, but it will not show the latter’s tail number, although it will note if the aircraft is part of either agency program .
Additionally, Sweeney’s bot still uploads PIA flights to Twitter, with the FAA telling Insider that Freedom of Information Act requests and commonly used airports are other ways to track PIA planes.
“Elon Musk, for example, has a Gulfstream and there’s only a limited number of people who fly that particular plane out of Brownsville, Texas, and fly to the same airports,” Sweeney told Insider.
Editor’s note: The story was updated at 3 a.m. ET Thursday to reflect the most up-to-date status from Twitter accounts. This is a developing story, please check for updates.