Mehul Reuben DasDec 15, 2022 11:29:03 IST
Just days after Elon Musk was called out for shadowbanning a particular account that tracked the movement of all his private jets, Elon Musk has now suspended the popular Twitter account, “@ElonJet”. Not just that, Sweeney’s personal Twitter account as well. So much for “free speech.”
The ban comes in less than a week after the account’s creator, Jack Sweeney claimed the jet tracker had been shadowbanned or was quietly restricted by Twitter. Sweeney posted a screenshot of an alleged message from Twitter’s internal Slack that showed Ella Irwin, the company’s trust and safety leader, asking her team to “apply heavy VF [visibility filtering]” to the account “immediately.”
In November, just weeks after Elon Musk took over Twitter, he was asked if he planned to take Sweeney’s jet tracking account down. Back then, that even though the account was a “direct personal safety risk,” he would not ban it as part of his “commitment to free speech.”
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
If Musk was indeed worried about safety and privacy, and if he truly believed that such accounts dox people, he would have also taken down the other Twitter accounts that Sweeney runs, which track the jets of other high-net-worth individuals like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. However, only the account that tracked Musk’s jets was taken down, as of writing this article.
Sweeney believes that apart from tracking his jet, the other reason why Musk might have suspended his account must have something to do with the fact that he called out Musk openly on the platform. Another reason, he suspects, might be because of how he had a leak inside twitter that shared “critical information about the need to suppress certain accounts.”
The suspension appears to stand in contrast to Musk’s stated ideals around how to moderate Twitter. For months, he’s harped about the importance of allowing “free speech” on the platform and providing transparency around moderation decisions.
Earlier this year, Musk had taken issue with the account before he bought Twitter, accusing it of being a security risk. He even offered Sweeney a pretty handsome amount to buy it from him. However, Sweeney demanded more money and an internship at Tesla.
Sweeney operates more than 30 plane-tracking accounts that share publicly available data. Many of the accounts track billionaires, including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates. His idea is to basically call out the virtue signalling that most wealthy people indulge in when it comes to climate change and environmentalism.
Ever since the account was suspended, there have been several memes going around on Twitter about how Musk paid $44 billion to buy Twitter, with the sole motive of banning this particular account.
elon musk bought twitter and is personally taking down ppls profiles he deems a nuisance or annoying after he claimed his “commitment to free speech” was absolute. he literally used the elonjet acc (now banned) as proof of such commitment. https://t.co/yQOMoSGjpy
— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) December 14, 2022
“free speech maximalist”
(this was the Elon jet guy’s personal account) pic.twitter.com/PaixdIgfG7
— rat king 🐀 (@MikeIsaac) December 14, 2022
remember Elon Musk’s first Twitter Files? the one about Twitter blocking links to NY Post’s Hunter Biden story
Elon Musk is using the same thing to block links to @ElonJet on other platforms right now
the exact same thing (except old Twitter stopped doing it the very same day): pic.twitter.com/KUpXG734w7
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) December 15, 2022
People on Twitter, at least those who do not blindly support Musk, are certainly not happy with how conveniently Musk twists his definition of “freedom of speech.”
So this is the culmination of the ElonJet situation. I think flight tracking is an overbroad application of this rule, and I also wonder if this generally applies to “hey look at this person that I just saw at Target” tweets and how you’d ever enforce that. pic.twitter.com/sgh05RUW3R
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) December 14, 2022
Musk, meanwhile got Twitter to change their public information policy, basically adding a section that bans sharing live location.