Within hours of opening a Twitter account on Tuesday, US whistleblower Edward Snowden already had several hundred thousand followers.
By 2 pm (1800 GMT) Snowden had nearly 300,000 followers and had sent seven tweets. “Can you hear me now?” was the first one. The @Snowden account includes the blue dot with a white checkmark indicating the identity of the user has been verified.
The internet portal The Intercept reported that someone had reserved an account under Snowden’s name, but hadn’t used it for three years. Twitter agreed to give the account to Snowden after being contacted about it.
The Intercept quoted Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, as saying Snowden, a former intelligence contractor with the US National Security Agency (NSA), would send his own tweets.
Snowden is wanted by the US government on espionage charges for exposing extensive telephone and internet data-collection programmes used by the NSA.
The United States earlier this year enacted the USA Freedom Act reforming how the NSA accesses US telephone records.
Snowden faces life in prison in the United States if convicted of divulging the highly secret information. He was granted asylum by Russia in 2013 and currently lives there.
The NSA’s official account is the only one Snowden is following. According to The Intercept the NSA isn’t following him at least not officially.