A 19-year-old student says he’s requested $50,000 from Elon Musk to take down his hugely popular Twitter account that tracks the billionaire’s jet — so he can purchase a Tesla vehicle.
“If he gave the offer, I would use it for college and a Tesla,” Jack Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, told HuffPost.
Sweeney first made headlines in late January after the tech-focused media site Protocol published a profile about the teen and his Twitter account, @ElonJet, which uses publicly available data to track the location of Musk’s private jet.
With more than 280,000 followers, the Twitter account caught the attention of Musk, who simply asked Sweeney in a direct message, “Can you take this down? It is a security risk,” according to Business Insider, which obtained a screenshot of the messages.
Musk then offered to buy the account from Sweeney for $5,000, adding that the student would also be “generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me,” Business Insider reported.
The teen presented a counteroffer to the tech tycoon, upping the ante to $50,000.
Sweeney uses public flight data provided by ASD-B Exchange, a website that collects flight data in real time, to track Musk’s private jet. He then tweets out its location.
On Jan. 18, the student defended his account, saying in a series of tweets that he has every right to “post jet whereabouts,” considering that “ADS-B data is public.” Sweeney also argued that Twitter policy allows accounts to share “data found on other sites” on the platform.
In a message to HuffPost, Sweeney said that he “understands” why Musk would want the Twitter account taken down and added that Musk is a “pretty good person” who does great work.
Sweeney’s viral exchange with Musk has led to new job opportunities.
While he currently works as an application developer for UberJets, a private charter jet firm, Sweeney told HuffPost that he is considering a job offer from Stratos Jet Charters, another private charter company.