- Jack Sweeney said he stopped following Mark Cuban’s jet on Twitter after Cuban came forward.
- The billionaire offered the teenager business advice in exchange for deactivating the account.
- Sweeney made headlines this year after rejecting Elon Musk’s proposal to close his account.
The famous teenager turned down a $5,000 offer to stop tracking Elon Musk’s private jet, saying he stopped sharing data on Twitter about Mark Cuban’s travel history after the billionaire raised privacy concerns.
For about four months, Cuban and 19-year-old Jack Sweeney went back and forth through the @MCubansJets account, which tracked several of the Shark Tank star’s jets.
The deal between the teenager and the billionaire sheds light on the day-to-day privacy concerns of public figures like Cuban and the efforts they are willing to make to limit their exposure. Last year, Meta paid nearly $27 million for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s security work and private jet travel.
“Aren’t you concerned about the safety of tracking jets?” Cuban asked Sweeney in a direct message shared with Insider via Twitter in February.
“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 I can end this risk to my family’s safety.”
Cuban confirmed to insiders that the news is true. He told Insiders that he initially reported the account on Twitter, claiming he was impersonating, but it was only shut down for a few weeks.
Sweeney told Insider he doesn’t think the accounts pose a major security concern because the data is already available online through public air traffic control sites like ADS-B Exchange. He just put the data on Twitter via a bot that scraped the website.
“I’m willing to delete some accounts, but I won’t do it in vain,” Sweeney told Insider.
In recent months, the teenager has started tracking various planes carrying stars such as Tom Cruise and Taylor Swift, as well as political and tech figures such as former Presidents Donald Trump and Zuckerberg. Sweeney said it took some work to create the accounts, but he can now put them together in about 15 minutes.
Sweeney appears to have agreed to cancel @MCubansJets in the spring after Cuban offered to help with his business. The account has nearly 3,000 followers and has not been deleted. But it has not shared travel dates for Cuba since April 7. Sweeney told Insiders that he no longer shares the data on Twitter, but still follows the billionaire on his Discord account.
“By ending this, you made me a friend for life,” Cuban told Sweeney in a DM exchange. “You may have Elon as a lifelong friend, and I think that’s more valuable to you than Tesla. You can start a business someday, and you need my help.”
In exchange, Cuban gave Sweeney his email address, but the teen told Insider he was disappointed by the offer. He then asked to meet Cuban at a Dallas Mavericks game — a team the billionaire bought in 2000 for about $280 million — and Cuban agreed. However, Sweeney said no date has been set.
“He said a lot to get me to take it off, but he didn’t really bother,” Sweeney said.
When contacted by Insiders, the billionaire did not appear to be aware that the Twitter account had stopped sharing his flight details, but said he would keep his word and would not take further action against Sweeney if he went ahead with canceling the trip.
“That’s the deal I do. I’ll answer his business questions,” Cuban said.
Earlier this year, Sweeney demanded $50,000 or a Tesla from Musk in exchange for deleting accounts that tracked his jet, after the billionaire said he “didn’t like being shot by weirdos” idea”. Musk blocked Sweeney on Twitter shortly after he made the counter-offer.
Sweeney said the public’s response to his work has been mixed since his efforts to hunt down Musk brought him into the spotlight. He said he received threats from Musk’s fans, but some of those he followed, such as billionaire Jared Isaacman, didn’t seem bothered by the attention.
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