- The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Friendship appears to be the only proven way to stop a college sophomore from tracking your private jet with one of his various automated Twitter accounts. Just ask Mark Cuban.

The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks got 19-year-old Jack Sweeney to agree to shut down his @MCubansJet account in exchange for friendship and business advice, according to CNBC.

Mr. Sweeney told the outlet that they made the deal over direct messages on Twitter in May.

The two will meet at a Mavericks game this upcoming season, and true to Mr. Sweeney’s word, the account tracking Mr. Cuban’s jet hasn’t tweeted since April.

Mr. Sweeney, who attends the University of Central Florida, originally started tracking the private jets in June 2020 and now has up to 30 automated accounts.

That includes specific people — such as Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry — as well as industry accounts that monitor the private jets of celebrities or sports teams.

Each of them tweet publicly available information from sites such as ADS-B Exchange, which provides the location, altitude and speed data logged by federally regulated aircraft.

That’s why Mr. Sweeney told CNBC he wasn’t buying the arguments from Mr. Cuban and Tesla CEO Elon Musk that the information he posts creates safety concerns.

Mr. Musk offered Mr. Sweeney $5,000 to shut down the account dedicated to his jet in January, but the student wanted $50,000 instead. The account is still active and has nearly 480,000 followers.

A lawyer for real estate mogul Grant Cardone also reached out to Mr. Sweeney to stop the tracking account. But Mr. Sweeney said that the lawyer wasn’t offering anything in exchange, so he ignored the request.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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