Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition spark lit by fury at @ElonJet account tracking his private jet, says new book
Elon Musk's request to remove a handle tracking his private jet was rejected by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, paving way for events that led to the acquisition
Parag Agrawal, the erstwhile CEO of the social media platform then known as Twitter, turned down a request from Elon Musk to remove a handle that was tracking the location of the billionaire’s private jet, a new book has revealed, adding that Agarwal’s refusal paved the way for Musk’s eventual acquisition of both the platform and its parent company.
The book, penned by Bloomberg’s Kurt Wagner, is titled ‘Battle for the Bird.’ Due to be released on February 20, its first excerpt was published by Wagner’s employer.
@ElonJet ‘annoys’ Musk
According to the book, in January 2022, the South African-born US entrepreneur contacted Parag Agrawal regarding the account @ElonJet, run by American programmer Jack Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida. Through multiple accounts, Sweeney also tracks the private jet travel of several prominent figures, including ex-US President Donald Trump, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and more recently, singer Taylor Swift.
Parag Agrawal's denial of his request led to Musk purchasing Twitter stock; that, in turn, brought the latter in contact with co-founder Jack Dorsey. He then sought a spot on the company’s board of director and when that move too was thwarted, began pursuing purchasing Twitter outright (with Dorsey’s encouragement).
Eventually in October that year, Musk completed the acquisition at $44 billion, and days later, sacked Agarwal, the tech giant’s first Indian-origin CEO, and others. The @ElonJet handle was taken down, though Sweeney still posts travel data of Musk’s plane on other social networking sites.
In July 2023, Twitter was rebranded as X.