Jack Sweeney, the 19-year-old college student who’s been tracking and publishing billionaire Elon Musk’s flight data, is now seemingly trying to blackmail/extort him for either $50,000 or a Tesla.
“What is your current demand relative to Musk. What will it take to go away and stop this?” CNN’s Michael Smerconish asked Sweeney during a segment Saturday morning.
“A Tesla or $50,000,” Sweeney replied.
Give me $50,000 or I’ll continue to stalk you and your family is totally not blackmail. pic.twitter.com/3OMHM3eMeh
— Sean Fracek (@seanfracek) December 17, 2022
According to critics, this sounds an awfully lot like blackmail or even extortion.
Sounds like blackmail…
— GalaxyAlpha (@realgalaxyalpha) December 17, 2022
Admitting to blackmail on national TV — albeit CNN — was not the flex I was expecting.
— TopJimmy (@jp23mc) December 18, 2022
This use to be called extortion or blackmail years ago. Remember when breaking the law was wrong?
— Patricia (@triciamap) December 18, 2022
So both. His exact location is potentially damaging to his health so blackmail. And offering to stop revealing this info for a benefit is extortion.
— Daknife (@DirkDaknife) December 18, 2022
— Matt Kadish – SaltyNerd.com (@MatthewKadish) December 17, 2022
The alleged blackmail/extortion attempt by Sweeney comes after Musk offered him $5,000 last year to stop posting his flight data to Twitter.
According to Protocol magazine, on Nov. 30th of 2021, the billionaire reached out to Sweeney on Twitter and offered him $5,000 if he’d delete his @ElonJet account and “help the billionaire keep ‘crazy people’ from tracking his location.”
In response, Sweeney asked for $50,000. Musk appeared uninterested.
“Musk said he’d think about it. But so far, he hasn’t paid Sweeney a dime,” Protocol magazine reported back in January.
Fast-forward to Musk buying Twitter this fall. Within weeks of him taking over the social media platform, he instituted a new policy prohibiting the sharing of real-time flight data.
Sweeney’s @ElonJet account was subsequently permanently suspended. So were his other accounts — around 30 total — showing the flight data of other celebrities.
However, Sweeney is still tracking Musk’s jet but using other social media platforms, as he explained in an op-ed for Newsweek that was published last Thursday.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 16, 2022
“Now, in hindsight, I honestly don’t care that ElonJet has been taken off Twitter. I don’t have to follow Musk’s rules on other platforms, and I don’t have to worry about him watching my account,” the op-ed reads.
“I set up a Mastodon account yesterday, and I already had accounts on Facebook, Truth Social, Instagram and Telegram. Twitter was my core platform, as I had 500,000 followers, but my accounts are gaining speed on other platforms. Mastodon already has over 20,000, and my Instagram following doubled in a day to 30,000 followers,” it continues.
Sweeney is also considering launching his own website.
“This experience has motivated me, if anything. I’ve been wanting to build my own website and this is just another reason to accelerate that. The website would basically be all of my accounts—not just ElonJet—with a lot more features, like a map, historical data, and stats. I’m planning to work on that over break, as I’ve just finished for Christmas at University of Central Florida, where I’m a sophomore,” he writes.
As for his Twitter account, he may appeal his suspension again sometime in the future, but for now he intends to lay low in light of Musk’s lawsuit threat.
“I might appeal again in the future for my Twitter account to be reinstated, but it depends on what happens with this legal stuff. I don’t know if Musk’s claim about a lawsuit is true, but it’s probably best to be careful. I don’t want to poke the bear any more. Even so, I will continue tracking Musk’s jet, even if it is on different platforms. If I give up now, it’s kind of like letting the big guy win,” he explains.
The lawsuit threat was issued last Wednesday via Twitter:
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
The threat came after someone stalked Musk’s son thinking it was him. But Sweeney is confident that the stalking had nothing to do with the flight data he shares.
“I don’t think my ElonJet account could have led a “crazy stalker” to his car. First off, the last tweet put out by my account was way earlier, 24 hours before, so on a completely different day. And then there’s the fact it was his car. I’m tracking his plane, not the car, so I don’t see how it could be connected,” he writes in his op-ed.
Sweeney also claims that, prior to his permanent suspension from Twitter, he’d diligently tried to comply with Musk’s new rules.
“I appealed to have ElonJet reinstated on December 14 and it was temporarily unbanned. Twitter said tracking apps would be allowed if you posted the data on a 24-hour delay, and I was happy to do that. But within an hour or two, I was suspended again,” he explains.
Learn more about Sweeney below:
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) December 15, 2022
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