He said he didn’t mean to start a battle with one of the most powerful men in tech, but that’s exactly where he has found himself.
Sweeney said it all started when he was just a child. His dad worked in the airline industry, so he would track planes to make sure his dad would be home on time.
“And then I had an interest in Elon Musk, and where he was, what he was doing. And then I figured that he had a private jet. And that I could track it myself. But nobody was really doing it. So I started doing it during my free time during COVID,” he said.
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But when Sweeney posted that info to Twitter he said Musk didn’t like it.
“So he hit me up in the Twitter DMs and it was like 1 a.m. here in Florida time,” he said. “He’s like, ‘Hey, can you take this down?’ And then he was asking how it worked. He didn’t have really any idea of how it worked. And I was like, ‘You know, I’ve put a lot of work into this (to) just take it down.’ You know, I didn’t really want to.”
Sweeney said the conversation continued for about a month, with the two exchanging a couple of messages a week.
Eventually, Sweeney said Musk offered him $5,000, but, he turned that down and asked for more. The two were not able to come to an agreement and after Elon Musk bought Twitter the tech company suspended Sweeney’s account.
Sweeney still has a tracking account on Facebook and other platforms.
Despite all of the controversy surrounding his introduction to the tech industry, Sweeney said he would like to continue working in the industry professionally.
“I think in the future I might want to do (something) with AI and GPT, stuff like that, it’s very interesting,” Sweeney said.
Software programming is also on his radar as are planes.
“I’m still interested in doing something with aviation and aircraft,” the UCF student said.
To learn more about Sweeney’s plans for the future, how the University of Central Florida is responding to him making national headlines and more, check out Florida’s Fourth Estate.
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