Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has opened an account on the social network website Twitter.
His opening tweet was: “Can you hear me now?”
In his profile, Snowden says he “used to work for the government. Now I work for the public”.
Within half an hour of the launch of his verified feed on Tuesday morning from his exile in Russia, Snowden had attracted more than 70,000 followers and counting. That effortlessly surpassed the 72,000 followers enjoyed by the only Twitter feed that Snowden himself is following so far -- that of the National Security Agency itself.
Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013, when he leaked classified documents revealing that the US government had top-secret mass surveillance programs in place to spy on almost everything that hundreds of millions of people do online.
The whistleblower is wanted by the US government on espionage charges, but continues to make press appearances using video links from Russia, where he has been granted asylum.
Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Snowden himself will be controlling his Twitter account.