Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

College student exposes jet-setting celebrities

Most college students wouldn’t dream of tracking — nevertheless posting — a celebrity’s jet for fear of legal consequences, but Jack Sweeney, an Information Technology student at the University of Central Florida, dreamed it and did it.

As many people know, Taylor Swift has been on her Eras Tour since early November of last year, and will be touring for nearly two years. As fans of football and Swift both know, she has also been dating the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce around the same time she started her tour. 

Obviously she has a busy schedule, and if you’re touring all around the world to over 150 different shows and cities, a private jet does make sense. However, it should not replace all travel; private jets are a luxury, not a necessity.

Sweeney has a history of tracking celebrities’ jets and posting them on a variety of social media platforms, including the current owner of X/Twitter himself, Elon Musk. Ironically, despite buying Twitter mainly to protect the free speech within the app, Musk deleted Sweeney’s account for fear of his own personal safety. 

While personal safety is absolutely something to be protected, especially for those who are constantly in the public eye, this type of censorship does bring freedom of speech into question. Moreover, it questions if the line for free speech is drawn by personal biases.

Sweeney’s more recent victim, however, is Taylor Swift. In late December  2023, Sweeney was sent a cease and desist order from Swift’s legal team for tracking and posting her private jet trips on an Instagram account. Like Musk, her team argued for violation of safety. 

While I both understand that this can pose a threat to celebrities’ safety and disagree with posting this information right after, data on these jet flights are all public record on the government’s Federal Aviation Administration and can be accessed by anyone.

Sweeney responded to this cease and desist not by backing down, but instead by posting the jet trips a day later. While some may view this as impertinence, I actually find it quite clever. Unfortunately, this only lasted a short time before the account was suspended.

You may have seen a few social media posts joking about Swift using her private jet, dubbing captions like “Taylor when her charger is on the other side of the bed” in reference to her infamous 28-mile flight popularized by the college student’s jet-tracking Instagram account. 

While the jokes are funny, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released for what could’ve been less than a 40-minute drive aren’t funny at all. While Sweeney’s account was still up, he noted that she would need to “plant more than 2,200 trees” in order to make up for the amount of CO2  emissions released from three months worth of her jet flights. 

According to a Swift spokesperson, Taylor bought “more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel” before her tour began last year. 

The same cannot be said, however, for many other celebrities such as Jay-Z, Blake Shelton, and Kim Kardashian, who are also frequent jet-setters with insane CO2  emission contributions. Shelton, for example, took a 27-minute flight in which he didn’t even leave the state of California. 

While I strongly discourage stalking, I don’t think that was Sweeney’s goal. Based on the commentary that was paired with these reports, I believe the UCF undergrad was doing this to bring attention to celebrities’ careless and thoughtless use of their beloved private jets despite the overwhelming (and well-known) evidence of the environmental damage it causes. 

Even Leonardo DiCaprio, who has spoken at the UN on the problem of climate change a few times, is a frequent jet-setter himself.

This is not me encouraging any of you to start your own jet-tracking social media accounts, but with the recent controversy surrounding Swift’s 28-mile flight and its environmental implications, I’d say Sweeney’s work here is done.

Even though both original accounts tracking Musk’s and Swift’s jets have been suspended, Sweeney has brought to question the morality of celebrities by exposing their careless jet usage, and has raised awareness for it by bringing this information into the social sphere via Instagram, X and Facebook. Some sources say that he’s still creating accounts on a variety of different social media platforms such as Threads, but his previous work has already got a conversation going. 

Sweeney has created public discourse about free speech and privacy by both pushing the boundaries and by getting his accounts suspended despite posting already public information, making us wonder if these accounts were truly a violation of privacy, or just a violation of their egos.



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