The tech-savvy college student who drew Elon Musk’s ire for tracking his private jet on Twitter has insisted that he won’t back down now that the mogul owns the social media platform.
Jack Sweeney, 20, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, launched the ElonJet account in 2020 to track Musk’s flights using publicly available data.
“I’m not worried now that Musk owns Twitter. If he banned ElonJet, the news would be all over it, so I don’t think he will do it,” Sweeney said in Newsweek.
“That being said, there’s always a chance. I put out a poll recently, and some of my followers think my account will be banned,” he added.
The Tesla CEO has offered Sweeney $5,000 to remove the account but the aviation geek asked for $50,000, saying the cash would be “great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car maybe even a Model 3.”
In a first-person piece in Newsweek, Sweeney said “it’s kind of insane that the world’s richest person, who puts rockets into space and can make a car drive itself, was asking a teenager, who was a freshman in college, to stop tracking his plane.”
He called Musk a “cool guy” and explained that he wanted to track his plane “because I feel like he’s always got something up his sleeve — you never know what he’s doing or where he’s going.
“He’s always got multiple projects going on, so I thought it would be interesting to see where he was going. You never know what this might reveal,” Sweeney said.
“For instance, everyone knew he was in the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco earlier in the week but I was probably the first to know he is now in New York,” he continued.
The student noted that he also follows other celebrities, including Jeff Bezos, Taylor Swift and Donald Trump.
“I believe these high-profile people shouldn’t be flying that much. I think it’s good to bring attention to that, then maybe some of them will change their habits or invest in greener planes,” he said in the mag.
Sweeney said he didn’t initially publish his findings on Twitter but that a friend urged him to do so.
“A week into the news, Musk blocked the ElonJet account, and my personal account. It was kind of sad but, at the same time, I thought: I’m 20, I’ve done all this stuff, I’m on the news. It was such a cool experience, it didn’t bother me that much,” he said.
“I would consider selling the account to Elon Musk if the criteria were right. I’d still want $50k — or a Tesla. It’s always been my dream car,” Sweeny added.
He said he has not been in touch with Musk after the latter bought the platform for $44 billion.
“But when he first discussed buying Twitter, he unblocked the ElonJet account. I think he didn’t want to seem like a hypocrite, as he has been such an advocate of ‘free speech,’” he said.
Sweeny recently told The Post that Musk has been trying to fly under the radar, so to speak.
In 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration launched a privacy ICAO aircraft address program, or PIA, which allows owners to apply for a temporary registration number that is not currently attached to any other plane.
“His plane was in San Francisco for less than a day,” Sweeney told The Post in August. “But it was hard to figure out because this was one of the flights where he had PIA. It’s like having a license plate on your car that is registered to another name. It takes extra work to know where the jet is going.”
He hesitated for a beat and joked, “PIA is a Pain In the A–.”