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Elon Musk private jet Twitter account is turning into a business

The college student behind the account is already selling T-shirts.

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Julian Dossett Writer
Julian is a staff writer at CNET. He's covered a range of topics, such as tech, travel, sports and commerce. His past work has appeared at print and online publications, including New Mexico Magazine, TV Guide, Mental Floss and NextAdvisor with TIME. On his days off, you can find him at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque watching the ballgame.
Julian Dossett
Elon Musk

Elon Musk on the ground.

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The teen who turned down $5,000 from Elon Musk to stop tracking Musk's private jet has started a business called Ground Control. Since 2020, University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney has tracked the takeoffs and landings of Musk's private jet with a bot that chronicles that activity on Twitter. 

The bot tracks Musk's jet using publicly available data, but the tech billionaire has not been amused. Musk offered Sweeney $5,000 to take down the Twitter account, according to Protocol. But Sweeney refused, saying $5,000 wasn't enough for the satisfaction he received from his work. Sweeney said he countered Musk's offer: $50,000 to take down the account, or at least an internship. 

Musk didn't take the deal and eventually stopped talking to Sweeney, who has continued the Twitter account. According to Insider, Sweeney said he decided to go public when Musk lost interest in making a deal. Now Sweeney is looking to turn his hobby into a business by tracking other well-known billionaires. 

Sweeney is currently selling T-shirts, stickers and hoodies featuring Musk and an airplane on the Ground Control website. When CNET asked Sweeney what people should know about his new business, he responded: "Probably just that I'll be tracking more planes."

Sweeney also created bots that track the private jets of billionaires Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

Musk's company Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.