Twitter suspends more than 25 accounts that track billionaires’ private planes
Twitter on Wednesday suspended more than 25 accounts that track the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high-profile individuals – including one that tracked the movements of social media company owner Elon Musk, who said that he was committed to “freedom of expression”. ”
Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student and flight tracking enthusiast, said he woke up on Wednesday to find his automated Twitter account, @ElonJet, had been suspended. In recent months, the account has amassed more than 500,000 followers by using public flight information and data to show the location of Mr Musk’s private plane.
Mr. Musk had known @ElonJet for months. After buying Twitter for $44 billion in October, he said he would allow the account to remain on the platform. “My commitment to free speech even goes so far as not to ban the account that follows my plane, even if it is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk said. tweeted last month.
Mr Sweeney’s personal Twitter account was also suspended on Wednesday, along with other accounts he manages that track the planes of tech billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Mr Sweeney shared a message he had received from Twitter, which said his account had been suspended for breaching the rules “against platform manipulation and spam”.
In an interview, Mr Sweeney said he had not changed the behavior of aircraft tracking accounts and had not been given any specific reason why they had been suspended. “He’s doing the exact opposite of what he said,” he said of Mr. Musk, adding that the suspensions seemed arbitrary given that the accounts had been around for months.
Since taking over Twitter, Mr. Musk has gone back and forth deciding what content and accounts should and shouldn’t be on the platform. He initially said he would form a council to make decisions about moderating content, but later scrapped those plans. He also praised former President Donald J. Trump’s account and declared an amnesty for people, including white nationalists, who had been suspended from Twitter for violating its rules on hate speech or incitement to violence.
Mr. Musk and Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. But Mr Musk said on Twitter that “posting someone else’s location in real time violates doxxing policy, but posting locations later is okay.”
A review of Twitter’s “private information and media policy” showed that Mr Musk and his team appeared to have created new rules on live venues that were posted in the past 24 hours. “If information is not shared during a crisis situation to help with humanitarian efforts, we will remove any tweets or accounts that share someone’s live location,” said the Politics said.
But since Tuesday, the internet archive shows that Twitter’s Privacy and Media Policy webpage did not mention the phrase “live location”.
Before owning Twitter, Mr. Musk offered Mr. Sweeney $5,000 to take @ElonJet offline; he then blocked the student after Mr. Sweeney tried to negotiate. Mr Sweeney has since created more than two dozen automated Twitter accounts using public flight data to track the planes of tech billionaires, Russian oligarchs and national and international government agencies.
Jason Calacanis, a technology investor and adviser to Musk on the Twitter takeover, tweeted Wednesday that his personal belief was that “sustained sharing of public location information is de facto doxing,” using a phrase typically reserved for sharing private information on the Internet.
Mr Sweeney said the information shared about the accounts was already public.
“If anyone wanted to do something, they could do it without me,” he said.
Leave a Reply