A teenager has asked Elon Musk for $50k (£37k) after the billionaire requested that the youngster delete a Twitter bot which tracks his private jet.
Jack Sweeney, 19, turned down an initial offer of $5k to shut down the @ElonJet account, saying the payment wouldn’t replace the satisfaction he received from running it.
The SpaceX and Tesla chief described the tracker, which uses publicly available air-traffic information, as a potential threat to his safety.
The University of Florida student described himself to Business Insider as a fan of Mr Musk and said he had created the bot as it “would reveal what business is going on and where he is going”.
Mr Sweeney has launched similar accounts tracking the planes of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The accounts state that they track the aircraft, not who may or may not be onboard.
The student also has a part-time job with a company called UberJets, which tracks chartered flights and allows its customers to identify cheap seats.
Student reveals messages from Musk
Mr Sweeney shared a direct message from Mr Musk, in which the tycoon said: “Can you take this down? It is a security risk.”
“I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase,” he adds.
Eventually, Mr Musk said: “How about $5k for this account and generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me?”
As this point, the teenager tried to upsell: “Any chance to up that to $50k? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a Model 3.”
The billionaire eventually declined, explaining it didn’t feel right to pay to shut down the account, but Mr Sweeney said that advice he had shared about protecting the jet’s identifying number appeared to have been adopted.
The teenager said he had made the correspondence public to try to reopen negotiations with Mr Musk, whether for an increase on the initial monetary offer or an internship.