Twitter on Wednesday announced that it has its updated private information and media policy that prohibits the sharing of other people’s live location, as well as links to places sharing that kind of information.
The announcement of the new policy comes after a Twitter account run by a college student ‘Jack Sweeney’ that tracked the live location of billionaire and Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk’s private jet was suspended as of Wednesday morning.
Not just this, the microblogging site also suspended the personal Twitter account of Sweeney along with more than 30 other accounts that he used to track the private jets of celebrities for violating Twitter’s rules against “platform manipulation and spam.”
The microblogging site also blocked sharing links to Sweeney’s “Elon Musk’s Jet” Facebook page and his @elonmuskjet Instagram account.
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What Is ElonJet And Who Is Jack Sweeney
ElonJet is a Twitter account created by a 20-year-old Florida university student, Jack Sweeney. This account tracked the movements of Musk’s private jet using publicly available flight data before it was suspended.
The account is hosted on Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, and Mastodon, and formerly on Twitter, where the account had about 530,000 followers.
Sweeney said that the suspension of his accounts is “a surprise to many people” especially after Musk had said he would not do it.
“Well it appears @ElonJet is suspended,” Sweeney tweeted Wednesday while encouraging users to follow him on other platforms. “This is coordinated and Elon is well aware I’m sure.”
Created in June 2020, the @ElonJet account had been targeted by Musk since the beginning of 2021. He even offered to pay Sweeney $5,000 to take down the account because it was a safety risk.
However, after Musk purchased Twitter in late October 2022, he announced in November 2022 that he would not ban the ElonJet account as he was a firm advocate for free speech, even though it was a “direct personal safety risk”.
Shortly after the policy updates went into effect, Musk tweeted that a car carrying one of his sons, Lil X, in Los Angeles had been harassed using these tracking accounts, as the person following the vehicle believed he was inside.
He added that his son had been followed by somebody he claimed to be a “crazy stalker” who blocked the car from moving and even climbed onto the hood.
Musk later shared a video with license plate information asking Twitter users to help identify the car and the person driving it. He even said that legal action will be taken against Sweeney and organizations who supported harm against his family.
Twitter’s Updated Policy On Live Location Sharing
The updated private information and media policy is designed with an aim to protect users, as sharing private information can pose serious safety and security risks for those affected and can lead to physical, emotional, and financial hardship, says Twitter.
Sharing someone’s private information online without their permission, sometimes called doxxing, is a breach of their privacy and of the Twitter Rules, says the company.
“When someone shares an individual’s live location on Twitter, there is an increased risk of physical harm. Moving forward, we’ll remove Tweets that share this information, and accounts dedicated to sharing someone else’s live location will be suspended,” the official Twitter Safety account wrote about the updated policy.
Not only will the tweets that violate this policy will be removed, but also the accounts dedicated to sharing someone else’s live location will be suspended, added the company. However, a user will be able to share their own live location.
“Tweets that share someone else’s historical (not same-day) location information are also not prohibited by this policy,” the company said.
Further, content that shares location information related to a public engagement or event, such as a concert or political event, is also allowed.
Under the private information policy, one cannot share the following private information about an individual without their permission:
- Home address or physical location information
- Live location information, including information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes, actual physical location, or other identifying information that would reveal a person’s location, regardless if this information is publicly available
- Identity documents
- Contact information
- Financial account information
- Other private information, including biometric data or medical records
- Media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted
- Media depicting prisoners of war posted by government or state-affiliated media accounts on or after April 5, 2022.
However, sharing information that is publicly available elsewhere, in a non-abusive manner (with the exception of live location information) will not be considered a violation of the private information policy.
What Happens If You Violate This Policy?
The first time you violate this policy by sharing private information (such as a home address, identity documents, etc.) or media, your account will get locked and you will be asked to remove the information/media.
If the private information is posted again after your first warning, your account will be permanently suspended for the second violation.
In case, your account is dedicated to sharing someone’s live location, your account will be automatically suspended.