Elon Musk is all about free speech when it comes to Twitter – so much so, he has refused to delete an account that tracks his multimillion-dollar private jet despite airing concerns about his personal safety.
The tech mogul, who bought the social media platform for $US44 billion ($A67 billion), previously attempted to have the account ‘ElonJet’ removed. He even offered to pay college student Jack Sweeney, 19, who created the account $US5000 ($A7690) to delete it.
However, in a tweet on Monday, he officially stated that removing the account by force would be opposed to freedom of 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,” Musk wrote on November 7.
Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, responded thanking the billionaire for backing his commitment to free speech.
“Overwhelmingly the followers of my account are supporters and admirers of your endeavours. Which was my (@JxckSweeney) motivation for creating @ElonJet,” the teen wrote.
The ‘ElonJet’ account has amassed almost half a million followers with Sweeney having created a bot that uses publicly available flight data to track Musk’s private jet as it relocates to different airports.
In November last year, the SpaceX founder asked the teen to remove the account through direct messages on Twitter obtained by the New York Post.
“Can you take this down? It is a security risk,” Musk wrote to Sweeney on November 30.
The pair exchanged several more messages, with Musk pressing for details on how Sweeney set up the bots and what he earned by operating them.
“I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase,” Musk said.
The tech mogul offered him $US5000 ($A7690) but Sweeney counter-offered at $US50,000 ($A76,900), telling Musk the money would be “great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car maybe even a Model 3,” according to Protocol.
Musk said he would consider the offer, but later said it didn’t “feel right” to pay to shut down the account. Eventually, he stopped responding.
When contacted by the NY Post for comment, Sweeney said it was “awesome, but kinda scary” to receive a DM from Musk.
He added that he would like to work for one of Musk’s companies in the future.
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