Twitter Inc has suspended an account that tracked Elon Musk's private jet in real-time after a "stalker" mistakenly followed his son 'X', putting his safety at risk. The decision was taken around a month after Musk said his commitment to free speech extends to even not banning Twitter accounts tracking his private jet in real-time. The mega-billionaire has now decided to take legal action against the handle operator and organisations associated with the account.
The account with the handle @ElonJet, owned by 20-year-old Jack Sweeney, had around half a million followers. Sweeney used publicly available flight-tracking data as and when Musk's jet took off and landed, and posted it online.
"Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood. Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family," Musk said in a tweet.
Following the incident, Musk also announced new rules for posting locations of the platform. He said any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended since it could be a physical safety violation. But he said users could post delayed info on the platform. "Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone travelled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok," he tweeted.
He also shared a video, in which a man with his face covered is seen in a car, purportedly the alleged stalker. "Anyone recognize this person or car?" Musk asked his followers. Many users commented, citing Twitter's new policy, that he should have taken written permission from the person in the video before he posted it online.
After the incident, Musk also deleted other accounts operated by Sweeney. As per the new Twitter policy, accounts tracking the private jets of other billionaires including Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates were also suspended. Musk's latest decision is in stark contrast to what he claimed in November when he took over the social media company after buying it for $44 billion. "My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk," he said.
Sweeney, who also tracked Musk's private jet on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram, said it's a "surprise", especially after Musk's assurance last month. Previously, Sweeney had said that he declined Musk's request to shut down the account for $5,000.
Musk-led Twitter has been marred with several controversies since he took over the company. He has been on a mission to make Twitter the most accurate source of information but the task, as many claim, is full of challenges. He recently said Twitter has destroyed most of the bot or fake accounts operating on the platform. “Twitter is purging a lot of spam/scam accounts right now, so you may see your follower count drop,” he said. After making a couple of U-turns, this week Twitter announced that the Blue subscription is relaunching but at a higher price.
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