Elon Musk Gets His Chance To Take A Stand Against ElonJet

Twitter has suspended the infamous @ElonJet account, which tracked the movement of Elon Musk's private jet. Run by Jack Sweeney, a Florida university student who is also an aviation enthusiast, the Twitter account was actually an automated bot that kept an eye on a Gulfstream G650ER jet that carries around the new Twitter chief. Created in June 2020, the account's suspension appears rather odd, irrespective of the argument that went into silencing it. 

Sweeney told CNBC that Musk has taken flights between points as short as a mere six miles apart, which raises serious questions about the carbon footprint of these flights in contrast to Musk's image of a clean energy messiah. He also created jet-tracking accounts for a few other billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Donald Trump, and even Canadian rapper Drake. Notably, a majority of these jet tracking accounts including that of Bezos, Trump, and Gates have also been suspended.

Even more interesting is a previous claim from Musk, in which he cited his immense love for free speech and how he isn't going to take action against the @ElonJet account despite direct personal security risks. "My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane," Musk tweeted last month. While Twitter's official note says that the account is suspended, the community notes added to Musk's tweet claim that it has been banned.

Free speech is only for humans, not private jets

That's not the end of the story though. Twitter has also suspended the personal account belonging to Jack Sweeney (@JxckSweeney), reports Ryan Mac from The New York Times. Twitter hasn't issued an official statement regarding the motive behind the suspension. However, Sweeney told The Verge that his account was subjected to heavy visibility filtering at the behest of Twitter's trust and safety chief Ella Irwin. If you haven't been following the Twitter Files leak saga, visibility filtering is corporate speak for reducing the visibility of a tweet or account by algorithmically suppressing it.

Musk had originally offered a sum of $5,000 to Sweeney in exchange for putting the account on cold ice. Sweeney, however, wanted to renegotiate with an offer of $50,000 to help with his college, fly with Musk in his private jet, and even proposed that if he lands an internship at Tesla, he would delete the account. The Tesla chief didn't accept the offer and subsequently blocked him, Sweeney told The Guardian. Sweeney tells BuzzFeed that he will soon create a website version of @ElonJet and will post the jet activity on other platforms, adding, "I can't let him win now."

The suspension — permanent or otherwise — seemingly contradicts Musk's own free speech absolutist ideals. Musk has previously claimed that banning Trump's account was a grave mistake. After reversing the ban, Musk started unbanning thousands of other accounts following a public "general amnesty" poll. It appears that the suspension of some accounts has more to do with freedom of speech than others, and Sweeney just happens to fall in the latter class.