The widespread Twitter handle, ElonJet, which tracked the movement of Elon Musk’s private jets, has been given a shadowban by Twitter upon Elon Musk’s insistence and is being algorithmically pushed down. The revelation was made by Jack Sweeney, the person behind the jet tracking account.
Sweeney took to Twitter to accuse the social media platform of suppressing the automated account. In a thread Sweeney dubbed “My Twitter Files,” he claimed an anonymous Twitter team member informed him that his “ElonJet” account was “visibility limited/restricted to a severe degree internally” on December 2.
He also shared what appeared to be an internal Twitter message from Ella Irwin, Twitter’s new head of Trust and Safety, requesting that ElonJet be subjected to “heavy VF (visibility filtering).
In an interview with Business Insider, Sweeney said that he had suspected for a while that his organic reach had gone down substantially ever since Musk took over Twitter. He also said that now he suspected that his account “ElonJet” was search banned/ search suggestion prohibited and that the Twitter team member who revealed the shadowban only confirmed his suspicion.
For those unaware of what shadowbanning is, it is the practice adopted by social media platforms to suppress certain accounts by making their posts not show up on their followers’ feeds and by making it difficult for other users to look for a specific account. This is mainly done when a statement or a profile hasn’t done anything to warrant a proper ban but is problematic enough to the platform that they would like to suppress them.
Hypocritically, Elon Musk has publicly criticized the practice of shadowbanning and said that Twitter is working on a feature that will clearly show users when they’ve been shadow banned. He has also said that Twitter will only shadowban problematic tweets and has implied that accounts and profiles will never be shadowbanned.
What is more hypocritical on Musk’s part is that he often shadowbans users and accounts that poke holes in his stories, especially with the ongoing Twitter Files series he is getting published. Musk had previously said he wouldn’t ban the Twitter account because of his free-speech commitments, but you will often see Twitter banning accounts that don’t agree with him and go on the offensive to call out some of his statements.
Earlier this year, Musk had taken issue with the account before he bought Twitter, accusing it of being a security risk. He even offered Sweeney a pretty handsome amount to buy it from him. Sweeney operates more than 30 plane-tracking accounts that share publicly available data. Many funds track billionaires, including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates. His idea is to call out the virtue signaling that most wealthy people indulge in regarding climate change and environmentalism.