The teen who tracks Elon Musk's jet agreed to stop monitoring Mark Cuban's flights on Twitter after the billionaire offered business advice: 'By ending this you have me as a friend for life'
Jack Sweeneysaid he stopped tracking Mark Cuban's jets on Twitter after Cuban reached out.
- The billionaire offered the teen business advice in exchange for the account being disabled.
The teen who famously turned down a $5,000 offer to stop tracking
Over the course of about four months, Cuban and Jack Sweeney, 19, went back and forth over the account @MCubansJets, which followed several of the "Shark Tank" star's planes.
The deal between the teen and billionaire sheds light on the daily privacy concerns of public figures like Cuban and the lengths they're willing to go to limit their exposure. Last year, Meta paid nearly $27 million for security efforts and private-jet travel for the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
"Are you not concerned about safety issues with tracking jets?" Cuban asked Sweeney in a direct message over Twitter in February, which was shared with Insider.
"Not everyone on this platform is stable. Many can be irrational and dangerous," Cuban said in a message to Sweeney. "You tell me what you want so that I can end this risk to my family's safety."
Cuban confirmed to Insider that the messages were genuine. He told Insider he initially reported the account on Twitter claiming impersonation, but it was taken down only for a handful of weeks.
Sweeney told Insider he didn't think the accounts posed a major security issue as the data is already available online via public air-traffic-tracking sites like the ADS-B Exchange. He merely puts the data on Twitter via bots that scrape the websites.
"I'm open to taking down some of the accounts, but I'm not going to do it for nothing," Sweeney told Insider.
Over the past few months, the teen has begun tracking a wide variety of aircraft carrying stars like Tom Cruise and Taylor Swift and political and tech figures like former President Donald Trump and Zuckerberg. Sweeney said the accounts took some work to set up but that he could now put them together in about 15 minutes.
Sweeney appeared to agree to disable @MCubansJets in the spring after Cuban offered to give him support on business endeavors. The account, which has nearly 3,000 followers, has not been deleted. But it has not shared Cuban's travel data since April 7. Sweeney told Insider he's no longer sharing the data on Twitter but still tracking the billionaire on his Discord account.
"By ending this you have me as a friend for life," Cuban said to Sweeney in the DM exchange. "You probably have Elon as a friend for life and I'm guessing that is far more valuable to you than the value of a Tesla. Some day you may start a business and you would have my help."
Cuban gave Sweeney his email address in exchange, but the teen told Insider he felt disappointed by the offer. He followed up with a request to meet Cuban at a Dallas Mavericks game — the team that the billionaire bought in 2000 for about $280 million — and Cuban agreed. Though, Sweeney said the date had not been set.
"He said a lot of stuff to try and get me to take it down, but he didn't really put in the effort," Sweeney said.
When Insider contacted him, the billionaire appeared unaware that the Twitter account had stopped sharing his flight data but said he would stand by his promise and not take any further action against Sweeney if he continued to stop tracking his travel.
"That's the deal I made. I will answer his business questions," Cuban said.
Earlier this year, Sweeney asked Musk for $50,000 or a Tesla in exchange for taking down the account that tracks his jets after the billionaire said he "didn't love the idea of getting shot by a nutcase." Musk blocked Sweeney on Twitter shortly after he made the counteroffer.
Sweeney said since his efforts to track Musk catapulted him into the spotlight, the public response to his work had been mixed. He said he'd gotten threats from Musk fans, but some of the people he tracks, like the billionaire Jared Isaacman, appear unbothered by the attention.
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