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Twitter suspends @ElonJet after Musk promises not to ban it

Twitter suspends @ElonJet after Musk promises not to ban it


The creator of @ElonJet claimed it had been quietly restricted by Twitter last week; now, the account is banned for real.

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Elon Musk, with a background of Twitter badges
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Photo: Getty Images

@ElonJet, the account tracking the movements of Elon Musk’s personal jet, has been suspended from Twitter. Musk said in November that the account was a “direct personal safety risk” but that he would not ban it as part of his “commitment to free speech.”

It’s not clear what changed in the month since that tweet. Posts from @ElonJet are published to Instagram and Facebook, too, and neither show the account doing anything out of the ordinary in the past few days. The account’s last posts were yesterday, showing Musk’s jet landing in Los Angeles after a 48-minute flight.

The ban comes less than a week after the account’s creator Jack Sweeney claimed the jet tracker was being quietly restricted by Twitter. Sweeney posted a screenshot of an alleged message from Twitter’s internal Slack that showed Ella Irwin, the company’s trust and safety leader, asking her team to “apply heavy VF [visibility filtering]” to the account “immediately.” Sweeney linked to tweets suggesting the restrictions made @ElonJet harder to find in search or suggestions for a period of time before later being reversed.

The Verge wasn’t able to confirm the veracity of the screenshot, and Irwin declined to comment when reached earlier this week.

Sweeney wrote on Twitter that @ElonJet now appears to have been suspended. He told The Verge that he hasn’t received any communications from Twitter “besides the default suspension warning.” He said the suspension might be related to “my news over the weekend,” referring to his post about Irwin’s filtering request.

Musk had previously reached out to Sweeney offering to pay to have the account taken down over concerns that it was “a security risk,” Sweeney previously told The New York Times.

The suspension appears to stand in contrast to Musk’s stated ideals around how to moderate Twitter. For months, he’s harped about the importance of allowing “free speech” on the platform and providing transparency around moderation decisions. In this case, there’s no clarity yet on why @ElonJet was suspended.

With additional reporting from Alex Heath.

Update December 14th, 10:05AM ET: Updated with additional comment from Sweeney.