Teen who tracked Elon Musk now targeting Vladimir Putin, Russian oligarchs

The US teenager who set up an automated Twitter account to post Elon Musk's private jet movements is now doing the same with Russian oligarchs and President Vladimir Putin.

Jack Sweeney, 19, rejected an offer of US$5000 from Musk to shut down the account, with the billionaire saying he feared for his safety and didn't "love the idea of being shot by a nutcase".

Sweeney was eventually blocked by the controversial Tesla founder after he countered, suggesting US$50,000 might be more appropriate for the time and effort he'd put into the project.

Now he has set up additional accounts on the platform, with one following the private jet movements of the likes of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and steel magnate Alexander Abramov.

He's also set one up to cover Putin's jets as well as that of others associated with the Russian government amid its almost universally condemned invasion of Ukraine.

Sweeney uses ADSB Exchange to source the unblocked and unfiltered flight data but says he doesn't expect the information for the Putin account to be too accurate due to the lack of coverage in Russia.

Among the latest oligarch movements was Abramovich's private jet, with the LX-RAY registration, landing near Istanbul after a flight time of 4 hours and 33 minutes.

According to the automated feed, the flight used 8671 litres of fuel, costing nearly US$12,000. It also released the equivalent of 24 tons of CO2 emissions.

Despite only being active for a few days, the accounts already have over 220,000 followers.

"I'm sure some people will try to kick some of these oligarchs out of the US or their country as they find out they're here," Sweeney told website Euronews Next.

"I don't really expect much trouble since I'm here in the US."

Colby Howard, the president of Paragon Intel which provides corporate aviation intelligence, told Bloomberg the accounts were the "People magazine version" of his company's offerings.

"People are obsessed with wealth more than ever. It's almost a form of paparazzi, that's why this is popular."

One gap in the information is the lack of knowledge of who is on the flight. Just because a jet is registered to an oligarch doesn't actually mean they are onboard themself, Howard said.

Bloomberg had previously reported that atypical travel patterns from high profile people can lead to conclusions about business activities, including mergers and acquisitions.