As changes to Twitter under Elon Musk’s new ownership continue to unfold, on Sunday Musk reiterated his promise to uphold free speech on the platform, even if it means keeping the account that tracks his personal jet active.
There is an account, @ElonJet, that tracks the whereabouts Musk’s private jet using ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast) data.
The account is run by University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney.
But even though this account is tracking Musk’s jet, Musk tweeted on Sunday that he was so dedicated to free speech that he would not ban the account, even though it could potentially be a safety issue for the billionaire.
“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk tweeted.
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
The account tracking the jet’s location did note in January that it is legal to tweet information about Musk’s jet since ADS-B data concerning the location and flight of aircraft all around the world is public.
“This account has every right to post jet whereabouts, ADS-B data is public, every aircraft in the world is required to have a transponder, Even AF1 (@AirForceTrack) Twitter policy states data found on other sites is allowed to be shared here as well,” it tweeted.
This account has every right to post jet whereabouts, ADS-B data is public, every aircraft in the world is required to have a transponder, Even AF1 (@AirForceTrack) Twitter policy states data found on other sites is allowed to be shared here as well. pic.twitter.com/Wol8O1DRiq
— ElonJet (@ElonJet) January 18, 2022
Musk even offered him $5,000.
But Sweeney refused because he “had put a lot of work into the account and got too much satisfaction from doing it, saying he would need $50,000 to give it up,” Insider reported.
In light of Musk’s Oct. 27 acquisition of Twitter and his promises to keep the platform dedicated to free speech, his new attention to Sweeney’s account actually made Sweeney proud, he told Insider.
“I kind of figured that was his stance because if it wasn’t people would be after him for saying one thing and then coming and banning my account. It’s still cool to see that he actually said something and acknowledged my account,” Sweeney said.
Musk’s acknowledgment of Sweeney’s account and his announced dedication to free speech comes after other comments from Musk about his plans to make Twitter a “common digital town square,” as his tweeted statement to advertisers on Oct. 27 described.
Musk had commented before how he wanted to make Twitter a more open platform, and as soon as he officially acquired the social media giant, he stated those intentions once again.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote in his statement to advertisers.
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
Musk’s subsequent decision to let Sweeney’s account remain active seems to be his testament and proof of these earlier promises.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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