Teen turns down US$5000 from Elon Musk to delete private jet tracking account

Jack Sweeney uses bots and publicly available data to post flight details.
Jack Sweeney uses bots and publicly available data to post flight details. Photo credit: Getty Images / Twitter / ElonJet

The teenage creator of a Twitter account which tweets controversial billionaire Elon Musk's private jet flights has refused the billionaire's offer of US$5000 (NZ$7600) to shut it down.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss made the offer to 19-year-old Jack Sweeney via direct messages, according to multiple media outlets which have seen the conversation.

Sweeney runs @ElonJet, which uses bots to scrape publicly available flight data to automatically post all movements of the jet to social media. It has over 244,000 followers.

Musk made the US$5000 offer to shut down the account after telling the teen he didn't "love the idea of being shot by a nutcase".

When asked by the billionaire how much he made from the account, Sweeney replied that he didn't make much, perhaps just $20 per month.

But Musk's offer was still turned down by the teen, who told Business Insider it wasn't enough to cover "the fun I have working on it".

"Any chance to up that to $50k?," Sweeney messaged Musk in reply.

"It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a Model 3."

Musk said he would consider the teen's counter-offer but then later replied saying it didn't "feel right to pay to shut this down".

Sweeney decided to go public with the exchanges because he said Musk had lost interest in the deal, despite taking some of the teenager's technical advice on how to make his private jet harder to track.

His latest offer - an internship instead of a payment to delete the account - hasn't been read by Musk, according to website Protocol.

Sweeney told Business Insider he had the idea to track Musk's flight because he was a fan of the Tesla founder. 

"I knew he had the jet, and I just knew it would reveal what business is going on and where he is going and stuff," he said.