ElonJet Founder Jack Sweeney joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the virality of his Twitter account, which tracks Elon Musk's private jet.
AKIKO FUJITA: From Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg, an army of Twitter bots is tracking the private planes of the rich and famous and posting their flights to Twitter. The bots are run by Jack Sweeney, whose account went viral for tracking and posting Elon Musk's private jets. Let's bring in Jack Sweeney, the ElonJet founder. Jack, it's good to talk to you today.
JACK SWEENEY: Thank you.
AKIKO FUJITA: You have a lot of people talking with these accounts. Why did you start this in the first place?
JACK SWEENEY: Originally, it was just interest in following Elon Musk because I thought he was a cool person with Tesla and SpaceX and all that. And it's interesting to see where he goes. You know, he's either in Austin or Brownsville, doing all kinds of work, you know. And it's crazy to see where they go. And they're just trying to be, like, the most efficient they can, doing everything possibly as quick as possible.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Hey, Jack, it's Brian here. So this is a story that turned a little spicy because you actually got in touch with Elon, as I understand it. Give us kind of the breakdown of what your conversation was like him, as I understand it, over DMs on Twitter. You turned down money from Elon to shut this down because he didn't want you having this out there. What happened after that?
JACK SWEENEY: Yeah, so at the beginning, he was like, can you take this down? It's a security risk. And he was, like, actually, asking how it worked. He didn't-- he had no understanding of how it even worked. And then he offered me the five grand. And I asked for 50, and it took a couple of weeks. And he was like, it doesn't feel right to pay to take it down anymore.
AKIKO FUJITA: Jack, can you talk about how you go about tracking these jets? Because I mean, we're sort of jumping all over the place, but you're no longer just tracking Elon Musk. You're tracking other billionaires as well. How do you go about using all the data that's out there to identify them?
JACK SWEENEY: So, a lot of times, they're registered to certain companies that can be linked, or you can see-- there's, like, pictures that they're actually coming out of that plane. And you can link it to where they've flown. And you're like, oh, that's definitely that person. But with Elon Musk, it's registered to a subsidiary of SpaceX, Falcon Landing. Mark Zuckerberg was a bit harder. And I just found his real one recently.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Jack, I mean, who are the types of people that you think are interested in looking at this? Obviously, you've gotten a lot of traction, a lot of attention. But it seems like some of this is tied in with the skepticism that people have over how much money goes into them jet-setting around the world, getting a lot of private detail and security to make all these types of trips. How much of this is about that versus just having fun with it, I guess, yourself?
JACK SWEENEY: I think there's all kinds of people. Like, some people-- hedge funds also, they-- I've heard that they track some of the people around to see what deals people are doing with other companies and all that. So, you know, and then other people are criticizing the people about their carbon and all kinds of other reasons that are just interested and all that.
BRIAN CHEUNG: All right, Jack Sweeney, ElonJet founder. Again, you can find that account on Twitter. Thanks so much for stopping by this morning. We appreciate it.