Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details about the US government’s massive surveillance programs, opened a Twitter handle on Tuesday from exile in Russia.
Just in about an hour, more than 171, 000 followers were been attracted, plus another 548,000 about 4-1/2 hours later. Interestingly, he follows only one account that is his former employer’s.
“Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter,” Snowden said in a tweet, referring to the US Army base in Maryland that is the home of the NSA.
His initial tweet from his twitter handle @snowden was “Can you hear me now?’ The tweet is a take-off on a cell phone provider TV commercial. It was retweeted 25, 000 times within an hour.
“I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.”Snowden described himself in his account. Snowden is seen as a a whistleblower who boldly exposed government excess. But the U.S. government has filed espionage charges against him for leaking intelligence information. Snowden fled the United States in May 2013 and has been living in Russia since being granted asylum there later that year.
Social media users reaction to Snowden was more positive than negative. In his earlier hours on Twitter, Snowden exchanged tweets with prominent astrophysicist and radio talk-show host Neil deGrasse Tyson, who had encouraged Snowden to try Twitter during an interview on his show this month.
The duo discussed, on the Twitter, the discovery of water on Mars, and Snowden joked that his work for the Freedom of the Press Foundation keeps him busy, “but I still find time for cat pictures.”