Meta's Threads has blown up this week, with more than 70 million accounts being registered within around 40 hours of the app going live. One of those users was a familiar thorn in the side of Elon Musk as they were posting what the Twitter owner once referred to as "basically assassination coordinates" for him.
However, Meta temporarily suspended @elonmusksjet on both Instagram and Threads. That's according to the account's creator Jack Sweeney, who uses publicly available flight data to share the whereabouts of Musk's private jet in near-real-time. Sweeney wrote on Twitter that Meta was previously aware of the account's existence on Instagram (Threads accounts are linked to Instagram for the time being) and is hoping the suspension was a mistake on the company's part. Engadget has contacted Meta, and a spokesperson told us that suspending the accounts was indeed a mistake. "This was an error and shouldn’t have happened. It’s been fixed," they said.
Okay I’m assuming people are gaming the reporting system on threads but ElonJet was just suspended on IG/Threads. Meta has been aware for a while that I’ve had ElonJet on there platform so this is I’m hoping is a mistake. Anyway to BlueSky pic.twitter.com/w0lnY72Rs2
— Jack Sweeney (@Jxck_Sweeney) July 7, 2023
The account seemed to have caught the attention of Meta's moderators earlier on Friday as well. According to Engadget alum Saqib Shah, Meta removed the account from Threads "in error." The company briefly restored @elonmusksjet before suspending it again prior to bringing it back completely.
Sweeney used to post the plane's flight information on Twitter as @elonjet, which bothered Musk long before he bought the company. At one point, Musk offered Sweeney $5,000 to delete the account, but the offer was rejected. A counteroffer of $50,000 or an internship at one of Musk's companies never panned out.
In December, a couple months after Musk bought Twitter, the company permanently suspended the ElonJet account. Twitter updated its private information rules around the same time to limit users to sharing "publicly available location information after a reasonable time has elapsed, so that the individual is no longer at risk for physical harm."
Sweeney created a new Twitter account that shows the location of Musk's jet on a 24-hour delay, which was A-OK under the tweaked policy. ElonJet accounts on other platforms display more up-to-date information, including on Facebook, Telegram, Mastodon and Bluesky. A subreddit is tracking the plane too.
ElonJet never truly went away for long, but there was something quite fitting about it showing up on Threads. The new app is a blatant competitor to Twitter. So much so, Twitter has threatened Meta with legal action after accusing it of using former employees and trade secrets to build the Threads app.
Update 7/7 3:51PM ET: Meta has suspended @elonmusksjet on Instagram and Threads.
Update 7/7 9:40PM ET: Meta told Engadget that @elonmusksjet on Instagram and Threads was suspended in error and has since been restored.