And it looks like the whistleblower might be using the social media outlet as a way to further challenge the government and inform the people.
America’s notorious whistleblower, Edward Snowden, just joined Twitter, and with a loud and clear first Tweet, he asks, “Can you hear me now?” In a bold move, he decided to follow only one Twitter account out of over 300 million active users: the NSA.
After he opened the National Security Agency’s can of worms in 2013, exposing the organization’s unconstitutional surveillance of Verizon Wireless phone records, Snowden fled to Russia where he’s living with temporary asylum. He’s done countless video interviews and conference speeches but has never made direct contact with the public until now.
His first few tweets gave off an air of parody in an amusing exchange with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson welcomes Snowden to Twitter, to which Snowden tweets back:
The two of them respond with a couple more good-natured tweets, Tyson asking Snowden about his many labels — hero, traitor, geek — but concludes by declaring, “You're a patriot to me. Stay safe.
While his grand entrance on Twitter was somewhat cheeky, it now seems that there’s more depth to his decision to join the social media outlet. He tweeted about the importance of using privacy tools, claiming that sometimes the biggest threats to our online privacy come from our homes or close relationships. The problem, he says, is overlooked. Not only do we deserve the right to privacy from the NSA, but from our families and significant others as well.
Next, he tweeted the official government source which reveals that in the first-ever interview with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, 60 Minutes planted questions that the government persuaded the television program to ask in order to shape the interview. Snowden, disappointed with the apparent failure of honest journalism, sends a message of louder volume — not only will he always speak out about what he believes in, but now, he will do so on a public website where he can put the government and other organizations on blast — with no media censorship in the way.
Even though Snowden has pure talent for all things technology related, he made a rookie mistake while joining Twitter:
Beneath all of his public labels — nationalist, coward, hero, spy — is a man who makes human mistakes like the rest of us. But above all, it will be fascinating to see how Edward Snowden uses Twitter to further his goal of keeping the public informed of what really goes on in the world.
In his Twitter bio, he makes it clear that he stands for the masses instead of those in power: “I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public.”