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Edward Snowden is now on Twitter

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has joined Twitter, taking over an abandoned account at @Snowden. An accompanying Intercept piece described the move as part of Snowden's ongoing role as a public figure. Snowden seems to have had help from Twitter HQ in acquiring the abandoned screen name, and the account is already verified. In less than an hour, he accumulated more than 80,000 followers, but as of press time, he is only following a single account: @NSAgov.

While still effectively exiled from the United States due to ongoing Espionage Act charges, Snowden has had a higher media profile in recent months, appearing remotely on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight and Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Star Talk podcast. On Star Talk, Tyson even suggested Snowden join the service, possibly inspiring today's move. Snowden's second tweet was directed at Tyson: "Thanks for the welcome. And now we've got water on Mars!" Snowden wrote. "Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend."