American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying programs, joined the micro-blogging site Twitter on Tuesday and gained followers quickly.
Within an hour of posting his first tweet, “Can you hear me now?” he registered more than 1,60,000 followers, while following only one– the NSA’s official account. At the time of updating this report the profile had 5,12,000 followers.
Renowned journalists and leading international media organisations, political leaders and civil society organisations started following Snowden within minutes of his first tweet.
Can you hear me now?— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
Snowden faces criminal charges in the US for leaking NSA documents and now lives in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.
The profile description says: “I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public. Director at @FreedomofPress.”
.@neiltyson Hero, traitor -- I'm just a citizen with a voice. [1/2]— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
Snowden serves on the board of directors for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organisation aimed at “defending and supporting cutting-edge transparency journalism in the face of adversity”.
The first conversation that Snowden had on Twitter was with famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Tyson wrote to him, “Ed @Snowden, glad to see the long exile hasn’t affected your sense of humor. Staying busy?”
Snowden replied, “@neiltyson Surveillance never sleeps, and secret projects @FreedomofPress are keeping me busy, but I still find time for cat pictures.”
Later, he took a dig at the NSA by tweeting:
Meanwhile, a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
Fort Meade is an American army base which houses the headquarters of several important defence and intelligence bodies, including the NSA.