Elon Musk Jet-Tracking Teen Turned Down $5K – Elon Musk offered a 19-year-old $5,000 to shut down a Twitter account tracking the billionaire’s jet, but he turned it down because the money wasn’t enough to replace the happiness he receives from maintaining the account.
Protocol was the first to reveal that Musk had contacted Jack Sweeney via Twitter private conversations. Musk requested him to take down the Twitter account, alleging it was a “security concern,” according to the DMs, which Sweeney shared in a screenshot.
Musk said earlier this month that profiles on social media disclosing his locations were “becoming a security issue.”
Sweeney discussed with Musk how his bots are able to follow the jet on Twitter and offered technical advice on how the billionaire could make his jet less trackable.
“How about $5k for this account and general assistance in making it more difficult for crazies to trace me?” Musk had enquired.
“Sounds achievable, account, and all my aid,” Sweeney replied. Is it possible to increase that to $50,000?”
The 19-year-old brought up college funds, telling the billionaire that the money might be used to purchase a Tesla Model 3.
In an interview, Sweeney said, “I’ve done a lot of work on this and 5k isn’t enough.” He went on to say that $5,000 wouldn’t be enough to replace “the fun I have working on it.”
Musk first stated that he would consider Sweeney’s counter-offer, but then stated that it “doesn’t feel right to pay to shut things down.”
Sweeney said Musk appears to have put some of his technical advice into practice, employing a blocking mechanism that alters his jet’s identity, making it more difficult to monitor.
Sweeney explained, “I simply have to work around it.”
Sweeney claimed he chose to make Musk’s offer public because the billionaire was no longer interested in a transaction.
“He went the opposite way as me, so why shouldn’t I do the same?” he reasoned.
In June 2020, Sweeney launched Elon Musk’s Jet Twitter account. The account employs bots to harvest publicly available air traffic data, informing fans of Musk’s private jet’s movements.
He said that he had been working on the account’s technology for a few months before launching it as a lockdown project.
Sweeney says he came up with the idea because he admires Musk. “I knew he had the plane,” he explained, “and I simply knew it would show what business he was doing and where he was going.
Sweeney’s father works in aviation, which piqued his interest in planes. “I had those plane-tracking applications,” Sweeney explained, adding, “I kind of thought they were great.”
Sweeney said he works part-time for a company called UberJets while in college, where he develops a platform to track chartered flights so the company can offer clients cheaper tickets.
He also mentioned that his work on Elon Musk’s Jet Twitter account is on his GitHub, allowing him to show it out to potential employers.