Elon Musk says that he is taking “legal action” against the owner of a twice-banned Twitter account that tracks the location of his private jet.
The automated @ElonJet account, which Musk previously said would remain online due to his belief in “free speech,” was briefly restored hours after being suspended by Twitter on Wednesday morning. It was banned again a short time later, with Musk saying that the account had helped a “crazy stalker” follow his son.
The billionaire also threatened to sue account creator Jack Sweeney and “organizations” that support “harm” to his family.
“Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood,” Musk tweeted. “Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.”
Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood.
Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
Other accounts tracking the movements of high-profile figures like former President Donald Trump and Russian oligarchs were also banned without warning on Wednesday morning.
The bans were blasted by some who accused Musk of hypocritically restricting Twitter content that he personally dislikes while also claiming to be a “free speech maximalist.”
The ElonJet account, which uses publicly available telemetry information to track Musk’s jet, returned to the platform for a short time after Twitter announced an update to its policy on private information.
Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student, said in a tweet during the short reinstatement that tracking information would likely be subject to a 24-hour delay under the new policy, effectively crippling the account on the platform.
ElonJet remained active without restrictions on other platforms like Facebook and Trump’s Truth Social.
Sweeney said that a number of other Twitter accounts that he ran were also suspended on Wednesday for unspecified reasons. In addition to the ElonJet account, his personal account remained suspended at the time of publication.
Twitter’s new policy prohibits the sharing of private information without a person’s “express authorization and permission,” including the sharing of “live location information” that would “reveal a person’s location, regardless if this information is publicly available.”
The policy says that “doxxing,” the public sharing of private information that could be used to harass a person, is now banned on the platform.
The platform said that it also bans the sharing of information like home addresses, although several exceptions were listed. In addition, users are prohibited from “threatening to expose private information or incentivizing others to do so” under the new policy.
Last year, Musk unsuccessfully offered Sweeney $5,000 to take down the account. In a Newsweek opinion article published on November 3 of this year, Sweeney said that he was not concerned about the possibility of Musk banning his account after taking over the platform, writing that the billionaire would likely not “want to seem like a hypocrite.”
Days later, Musk said in a tweet that his “commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”
My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Musk reversed course on Wednesday. During the time that ElonJet was restored following its initial ban, he argued that Twitter’s policy had been changed to ban some speech based on risks to “physical safety.”
“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” Musk tweeted. “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”
Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.
Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2022
Sweeney told Newsweek earlier on Wednesday that he believed it was “pretty obvious” that Musk had personally demanded the policy be changed to specifically target his account.
“It just shows that they can form and shape the rules however they want for particular accounts,” said Sweeney.
Newsweek has reached out to Twitter and Sweeney for additional comment.
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