Sweeney used publicly available flight data to operate @ElonJet and accounts that track flights of other public figures. Over the weekend, Sweeney said screenshots provided by a Twitter employee indicated that the company limited the reach of @ElonJet. On Monday, Sweeney said it seemed there were no longer any restrictions on the account, but Twitter has since dropped the banhammer. By Wednesday afternoon, Twitter had suspended Sweeney’s personal Twitter account too. Later that same day, Twitter revealed an update to its private information policy, noting that sharing “live location” information about another person is now prohibited.
In January, a few months before Musk announced a deal to buy Twitter, he offered Sweeney $5,000 to delete the account. Sweeney rejected the overture, instead asking for $50,000. As CNBC notes, @ElonJet had more than half a million followers. Sweeney also runs a version of the bot on Instagram.
Self-proclaimed free speech absolutist Musk, who has caused chaos at Twitter since taking over the company, suggested in November that he would not ban @ElonJet, despite claiming the account “is a direct personal safety risk.” It’s unclear whether Musk himself reversed course or one of his employees made the call to suspend @ElonJet. Twitter no longer has a communications department that can be reached for comment.
Update 12/14 2:36PM ET: Noted that Twitter has suspended Sweeney’s personal Twitter account.
Update 12/14 8:00PM ET: Added information about Twitter’s updated private information and media policy.