Elon Musk has threatened legal action against the Twitter account that used publicly available flight data to track his private jet, shortly after the account was suspended by the social media platform.
Despite a pledge by the social media platform’s new owner to keep it up because of his free speech principles, @elonjet was suspended on Twitter on Wednesday.
Then, hours later, Mr Musk brought back the jet-tracking account after imposing new conditions on all of Twitter’s users — no more sharing of anyone’s current location.
But shortly afterward, the account was suspended again. That came after Mr Musk tweeted that a “crazy stalker” attacked a car in Los Angeles carrying his young son.
He also threatened legal action against Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old college sophomore and programmer who started the @elonjet flight-tracking account, and “organisations who supported harm to my family”.
It is not clear what legal action Mr Musk could take against Mr Sweeney for an account that automatically posted public flight information.
Before Wednesday, the account had more than 526,000 followers.
“He said this is free speech and he’s doing the opposite,” Mr Sweeney said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Mr Sweeney said he woke up on Wednesday to a flood of messages from people who saw that @elonjet was suspended and all its tweets had disappeared.
Started in 2020 when Mr Sweeney was a teenager, the account automatically posted the Gulfstream jet’s flights with a map and an estimate of the amount of jet fuel and carbon emissions it expended.
He logged into Twitter and saw a notice that the account was permanently suspended for breaking Twitter’s rules. But the note did not explain how it broke the rules.
Mr Sweeney said he immediately filed an online form to appeal the suspension. Later, his personal account was also suspended, with a message saying it violated Twitter’s rules “against platform manipulation and spam”.
And then hours later, the flight-tracking account was back again, before it was shut down anew. Mr Musk and Twitter’s policy team had sought to publicly explain on Wednesday that Twitter now has new rules.