Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has opened an account on the social network website Twitter.
His opening tweet was: “Can you hear me now?”
In his profile, Mr Snowden says he “used to work for the government. Now I work for the public”. He quickly gathered thousands of followers.
So far, Mr Snowden, who is wanted in the US for leaking secrets, only follows one other Twitter user – the US National Security Agency (NSA).
He is believed to be living in Moscow where he is sheltering from US prosecutors.
In his second tweet – a reply to US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson – Mr Snowden joked: “Now we’ve got water on Mars! Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend.”
And in another tweet he said: “Hero, traitor – I’m just a citizen with a voice.”
The @Snowden account was verified by Twitter and within nine hours of joining, Mr Snowden had accumulated more than 710,000 followers.