Jack Sweeney, who wants Tesla CEO to hand over $50k to remove flight tracker bot, sets sights on other celebrities
The Florida teenager demanding Elon Musk hand over $50,000 to stop him tweeting the location of the billionaire’s private jet has said he is creating dozens more accounts tracking the movements of other rich and famous people.
Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old college student and aviation enthusiast, said he had created 16 automated Twitter accounts, or bots, similar to @ElonJet to follow jets owned by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (@GatesJet), Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and the rapper Drake.
Landed near Harlingen, Texas, US. Apx. flt. time 25 Mins. pic.twitter.com/DLNGCTxftm
— Elon Musk's Jet (@ElonJet) February 1, 2022
In an interview with the Guardian, Sweeney said he had also created a website, Ground Control, to “monetise” the service by offering bespoke tracking services to celebrities’ superfans and to host web versions of the Twitter bots if the microblogging site closes his accounts because of privacy concerns raised by the subjects.
“They’re either really prominent people or just like really interesting,” Sweeney said of the people he tracks. “Lately I have been adding people that [his followers] have requested.”
Recent accounts he has set up after requests include Cuban and Drake, who he said was the most interesting.
“He has the biggest plane out of all of them, it is a giant Boeing.”
The rapper’s plane, Air Drake, is a $185m 59ft-long Boeing 767-200ER that can carry 216 passengers.
Sweeney, who created @ElonJet in June 2020, said he hoped Musk would reopen negotiations to buy and close down the account. The co-founder and chief executive of Tesla has refused the teenager’s demand for $50,000.
Musk, the world’s richest person with an estimated $220bn fortune, has urged Sweeney to delete the account.
“Can you take this down? It is a security risk,” Musk, wrote in a direct message to the teenager. “I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase.”
N887WM Landed in Seattle, Washington, US. Apx. flt. time 4 Hours : 37 Mins. pic.twitter.com/q0ar6S198j
— Bill Gates' Jets (@GatesJets) February 1, 2022
Sweeney said receiving the direct message from Musk, whom he described as his idol, was a surreal experience. “I was just about to go to sleep actually, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh Elon just messaged me to take down my account’,” he said. “It was insane.”
“And then he offers me $5,000 to make it harder for people to track him and to take down the account, and I make my counter-offer.”
Sweeney attempted to negotiate with Musk, replying: “Any chance to up that to $50K? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a [Tesla] Model 3.”
Musk later said he did not feel comfortable paying anything. Sweeney replied that if Musk did not want to pay, he would delete the account in return for an internship at Tesla.
“That was the last thing I said [to Musk],” Sweeney said. “And then he blocked me.”