Attention people of the Internet! Edward Snowden is on Twitter.
At noon on Tuesday, the US intelligence whistleblower posted the first missive:”Can you hear me now?”
Within an hour that tweet had garnered 25,000 retweets and 18,000 favourites, and his verified profile had 167,000 followers and counting.
Snowden made his second tweet a shout-out to celebrity science guy Neil deGrasse Tyson.
.@neiltyson Thanks for the welcome. And now we've got water on Mars! Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 29, 2015
The only account Snowden follows belongs to his former employers, the National Security Agency.
Beginning in 2013, Snowden leaked reams of classified government documents that revealed the extent of digital surveillance committed by the US and its allies, including Canada.
Snowden has been living in Russia to avoid prosecution, but he has become a beloved symbol of privacy rights to thousands around the world.
Unsurprisingly, social media exploded with news that Snowden had joined the Twittersphere.
Some of the reaction:
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) September 29, 2015
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 29, 2015
— Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) September 29, 2015