Teenager who rejected $5k offer to stop tracking Elon Musk gets blocked by him

Elon Musk and one of his private jet flights
Jack Sweeney is now starting his own business tracking high-profile flights. Photo credit: Getty Images / Twitter / ElonJet

The teenager who openly rejected Elon Musk's US$5000 (NZ$7600) offer to shut down a flight-tracking Twitter account has now been blocked by the billionaire.

Jack Sweeney, 19, used publicly available information and bots to automatically tweet every time the Tesla founder's private jet took to the air.

Musk subsequently expressed fears for his safety and he offered Sweeney the money to stop tracking him as he didn't "love the idea of being shot by a nutcase".

Sweeney told Bloomberg the controversial billionaire has now blocked him on social media after he attempted to negotiate a higher fee for his efforts.

Noting that Musk had already implemented some security changes that made the jet harder to track on his suggestion, Sweeney said the $5000 offer didn't reflect the effort he'd put into his project.

"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 told the teen he would consider the counter-offer but replied saying it didn't feel right to pay to shut the account down.

Sweeney said he really wanted an internship instead but that plea went unanswered, until he was eventually blocked on all his social media accounts on Monday, NZ time.

"You know, it's kinda strange, he wants it down and seems like he's really mad," Sweeney told Bloomberg.

The teenager is holding out hopes that Musk will still reach out to him, but has already decided to launch his own business, which he is calling Ground Control.

It's going to monitor the flights of additional prominent people including the likes of Bill Gates and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

According to Bloomberg, atypical travel patterns from high profile people can give clues about business activities, mergers and acquisitions.

There are companies already in that space who make millions in revenue, said Sweeney, a freshman at the University of Central Florida.

However Sweeny could face both privacy and legal issues over his plans, according to one company director.

Colby Howard, the President of Paragon Intel which provides aviation intelligence with JetTrack, said the ramifications could include charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, much like a programme called App Annie faced in 2021.

"The cowboy days of scraping data and selling it for hundreds of thousands of dollars are long gone," Howard told Bloomberg. "You can't just milk it out for as much as you can."

Sweeney originally told Business Insider he was tracking the SpaceX founder's flights because he was a fan.

"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.