Hours after suspending @ElonJet, an account that tracked the trips taken by Elon Musk’s private plane, Twitter banned the account’s creator, Jack Sweeney, and dozens of other accounts he operates. Twitter then un-suspended @ElonJet, which was briefly tweeting to try and get its account back before Twitter banned it again.
If you try and visit @ElonJet or Sweeney’s account, you’ll see a message that the account has been suspended. Twitter has also been blocking links to versions of the Elon Jet tracker on other platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. Attempting to tweet certain links to Sweeney’s Elon Musk jet tracker on other platforms will display a message that the link is “potentially harmful,” as spotted by Tony Webster.
It seems Twitter doesn’t currently have an ironclad filter for this, as I was able to tweet an alternate link to the Instagram version of the tracker. But it appears that Twitter is stepping up its actions against Sweeney and his accounts, despite Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s “commitment” to free speech, which he said in November extended to “not banning the account following my plane.”
Sweeney was suspended for violating Twitter’s rules against “platform manipulation and spam,” according to a screenshot shared by a Mastodon account belonging to Sweeney. But Musk said that the ban may have been for something else. “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” Musk tweeted. Later, he added that a car carrying one of his children had been followed by a stalker thinking it was him and that he is taking legal action against Sweeney.
Twitter has updated its private information policy to state that sharing live location information is a violation of the policy. Here is the full addition to what now counts as a violation:
live location information, including information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes, actual physical location, or other identifying information that would reveal a person’s location, regardless if this information is publicly available;
Twitter also shared a thread on its @TwitterSafety account to further explain the changes. Twitter will remove tweets sharing live location info and suspend accounts dedicated to doing so, it said. You are allowed to share your live location, and can share somebody else’s “historical” location, which the company currently defines as “not same-day.”
Twitter didn’t reply to a request for comment; the company dissolved its press office during the recent layoffs.
Some other accounts tracking the jets of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, have been suspended and remain so. Sweeney operates many of them, as noted within his Discord, and has seen about 30 of his accounts banned, he told The New York Times’ Ryan Mac.
Update December 14th, 7:54PM ET: Elon Musk says he is taking legal action against Sweeney.