Twitter changes rules after suspending account tracking Elon Musk’s jet
Twitter said accounts dedicated to sharing a 'live location' would be automatically suspended
Twitter on Wednesday changed its rules to stop anyone from sharing a person's "live" location, following the suspension of an account that used publicly available flight data to track Elon Musk's private jet.
Now, according to the social media giant's "Private information and media policy," sharing live location information – including both information shared on Twitter directly or links to third-party URLs of travel routes, an actual physical location or other identifying information that would reveal a person’s location – is in violation of Twitter's rules, regardless of whether the information is publicly available.
The first time a user violates the policy by sharing live location information, Twitter will require them to remove the content and temporarily lock the account.
A second offense will mean permanent suspension.
TWITTER SUSPENDS ACCOUNT TRACKING MUSK'S JET AFTER BILLIONAIRE TOUTS 'COMMITMENT TO FREE SPEECH'
"If your account is dedicated to sharing someone’s live location, your account will be automatically suspended," Twitter said.
Musk explained the changes on his personal Twitter account.
"Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok," he tweeted.
One of his tweets responding to a video showing Musk getting into a car outside an airport was labeled with one of Twitter's Community Notes, writing that publishing flight records is protected under the First Amendment but that Twitter's rules prohibit sharing information that would reveal a live location.
This comes as the bot account @ElonJet was suspended, despite a pledge by the billionaire to keep it up because 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," he tweeted on Nov. 6.
Hours later, Musk brought back the account – run by 20-year-old college sophomore Jack Sweeney – after imposing new conditions on all of Twitter's users.
A short time after, @ElonJet was suspended again and Musk tweeted that a "crazy stalker" attacked a car in Los Angeles carrying his young son.
"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," he said, later sharing a video of a man in a black hoodie and a black mask driving a white Hyundai.
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It’s not clear what legal action Musk could take against Sweeney for an account that automatically posted public flight information.
"He said this is free speech and he’s doing the opposite," Sweeney told The Associated Press.
The University of Central Florida student noted that he filed an online form to appeal the suspension the first time around.
His personal account was also suspended, with a message saying it violated Twitter’s rules "against platform manipulation and spam."
For hours after the suspension of the @ElonJet account, other Sweeney-run accounts tracking private jets used by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and various Russian oligarchs were notably still live on Twitter.
By later in the day, Twitter had reportedly suspended them all.
"You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter," a note to Sweeney about the suspension, which was shared with the AP, said.
Sweeney previously accused Twitter of using a filtering technique to hide his tweets, sharing screenshots of what he alleged were leaked internal communications.
He said in the interview that he suspects the short-lived ban stemmed from anger over those leaks.
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In January, the New York Times reported that Musk sent a direct message to Sweeney saying that he would give him $5,000 to remove the account because it was a "security risk."
However, Sweeney said he would only consider doing so for $50,000 and an internship at one of his companies and Musk then reportedly blocked Sweeney, according to Protocol.
The tracker is still available on other platforms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.