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Elon Musk jet-tracking account moves to Twitter rival Threads

<i>Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</i><br/>An illustration picture shows two mobile phones displaying the login page of the social media app 'Threads' (L) and the 'Twitter' account of Elon Musk in Los Angeles on June 6. The new messaging app launched by Mark Zuckerberg is a direct competitor to Musk's Twitter.
Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
An illustration picture shows two mobile phones displaying the login page of the social media app 'Threads' (L) and the 'Twitter' account of Elon Musk in Los Angeles on June 6. The new messaging app launched by Mark Zuckerberg is a direct competitor to Musk's Twitter.

By Chris Isidore, CNN

New York (CNN) — One of Elon Musk’s least-favorite Twitter users is moving to Meta’s competing platform Threads.

Jack Sweeney — the 20-year-old Florida college student who started the ElonJet Twitter account that used a bot to track the location of Musk’s private jet using publicly available data — started an account named “elonmusksjet” on Threads last week soon after Meta launched the platform.

Sweeney’s project gained notoriety in early 2022 when Musk offered him $5,000 to stop posting his plane’s location, and the student replied with a request for $50,000. Musk, who was worth more than $200 billion at that time according to estimates, turned down his request.

In December after Musk bought Twitter, he permanently suspended Sweeney’s ElonJet account, claiming it posed a security threat to him and family members by revealing their locations in real time. The account had amassed more than 500,000 followers at the time it was suspended.

Sweeney’s new Thread account already has 80,000 followers, he told CNN on Monday.

“This is the most I’ve had since my Twitter account was suspended,” he said. “There’s still a lot of people who are interested in this.”

Meta (FB), which also owns Facebook and Instagram, had 70 million Thread sign-ups in less than 48 hours. Sweeney told CNN the had a Threads account within hours of when it first became available, because it was easy to set up using his existing Instagram Elon jet account.

24-hour delay account

Sweeney has continued to tweet the location of Musk’s jet with a 24-hour delay, using the account ElonJetNextDay, though that account has a far more modest 25,600 followers.

Musk had said a 24-hour delay of flight information would be allowed under Twitter’s new rules set up to suspend ElonJet. And Sweeney continues to tweet under a personal account, using it to announce the move of ElonJets to Threads.

The first Threads post on the elonmusksjet account was one announcing that ElonJet had landed on Threads, followed by one asking Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg if the account could stay.

But the elonmusksjet account was temporarily blocked, according to a posting on Sweeney’s personal Threads account, which included a screenshot of message he received from Threads telling him the elonmusksjet account was active once again following a requested review.

“We’re sorry we got this wrong,” said the message. “Sometimes we need to take action to help keep our community safe.”

Sweeney said Meta didn’t provide specifics for the temporary halt to his new Threads account, but he assumed it was triggered automatically and not due to a specific individual making a decision.

“It said something about account integrity,” he said. “Maybe it’s because I had Elon Musk’s name in the account name.”

Since then the Threads account has tracked one Musk flight, from Austin to Brownsville, Texas three days ago.

Sweeney also operates a separate a Threads account called zuckerbergjet, but it has yet to track any flights since it went live on Threads at the same time elonmusksjet did. He also has accounts that track the private planes of Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, former president Donald Trump, Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian as well as the state of Florida plane used by Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as some other celebrities.

“It doesn’t take that much time. Most of it is just development time, doing research to find someone’s jet,” he said. “Otherwise it operates by itself, pretty much.”

– CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.

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