Nancy Pelosi's flight, the most followed in the history of the Flightradar24 site

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Nancy Pelosi's flight, the most followed in the history of the Flightradar24 website

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi greeted dignitaries before departing Taipei.

The Flightradar24 aerial tracking site has been drawing crowds in recent months and saw its highest traffic on Tuesday. Scheduled for today: SPAR19 flight to Taipei, Taiwan from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on board.

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Some 2.9 million Internet users followed the seven-hour journey on the Flightradar24 website, with a peak of 708,000 people simultaneously connected during the landing in Taipei.

Site stability suffered slightly, according to a Flightradar24 blog post, but it was restored shortly after Nancy Pelosi arrived on Taiwanese soil.

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This diplomatic trip has led to high tensions between the United States and China, which considers the island to be part of its territory. On Friday, the Chinese government ended its collaboration with the US government on several issues, including that on climate change.

The Nancy Pelosi getaway is the latest example of the growing interest of internet users in tracing flights.

The trip to Moscow by the leader of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, received the attention of some 550,000 Internet users in 2021, as he headed for prison.

The war in Ukraine has also generated traffic on Flightradar24. In particular, we could see the planes avoiding the country in February, or even carefully follow the US Air Force's Global Hawk flight over the Black Sea in the midst of the Russian invasion.

The airspace over Ukraine on February 22, 2022 at 4 p.m., after the start of the invasion Russian

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Flightradar24 communications director, Ian Petchenik, extolled the possibilities of the tracing tool: You have the ability to participate in the story in real time.

In recent weeks, celebrities have been singled out for overusing their private planes, according to environmental activists. The record of American singer Taylor Swift, whose plane has had some 170 flights since the start of the year according to an analysis by the marketing agency Yard, has been strongly criticized on social networks. She denied that she was not the only one using the plane.

Canadian singer Drake, whose plane flew 14 minutes, and American director Steven Spielberg, accused of stealing for 28 minutes, has not been spared on the web.

The data was collected through the CelebJets Twitter account, which tracks celebrity thefts and automatically post their whereabouts using a bot.

The origin of this Twitter account is a 19-year-old Canadian boy named Jack Sweeney. He had started his activities in June 2020 by following Elon Musk's private plane. He had even offered him $5,000 to stop tracking him, believing that the account could affect his security. However, Sweeney had asked for $50,000 in return, which he was denied.

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To track these flights in real time, Jack Sweeney and the Flightradar24 site, for example, use public ADS-B (automatic dependent broadcast surveillance), a cooperative surveillance system for air traffic control.

Jack Sweeney now has 30 Twitter accounts following sports stars, the boss of Meta , Mark Zuckerberg, and the Russian oligarchs.

With information from AFP, and The Guardian

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