The fugitive whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, known for exposing NSA surveillance procedures, is now on Twitter. He already has more followers than the National Security Agency.
LA Times reports that the account has been verified as authentic by Twitter. Snowden’s attorney, Ben Wizner, has confirmed that the account is controlled by Snowden, himself. Snowden gained upwards of 300,000 followers in under two hours, following his first tweet. The tweet read, “Can you hear me now?” Currently, the NSA is the only account Snowden is following, with a much smaller audience of 76,000 followers.
The agency has declined to comment on Snowden so far. Snowden was granted asylum in Russia, to avoid charges of theft and espionage in 2013, in regards to his leaks about the NSA.
Twitter’s interim CEO, Jack Dorsey welcomed Snowden, via a tweet. Despite Snowden’s status as a wanted man by the U.S Justice Department, many mass-media figures have shown their support of the whistle-blower. The Guardian and The Washington Post were both rewarded with Pulitzer prizes for their stories on Snowden’s leaks.
Snowden requested to use the handle @snowden, which belonged to an inactive user. Twitter obliged and cleared out the old account for Snowden’s use.
While Twitter has policies in place that forbid users from using Twitter for, “any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities,” which implies that the company believes that using the service while avoiding prosecution is not a crime.
Snowden also tweeted, “Meanwhile a thousand people at Fort Meade just opened Twitter”, in reference to the government’s possible interest in the fugitive’s future tweets.