Within minutes of the Guardian’s surprise revelation that the source of the U.S. National Security Agency intelligence leak was 29-year-old Edward Snowden, supporters on Facebook and Twitter rallied around the self-confessed whistle-blower, who is gaining instant cult status on social media.
Despite Snowden’s insistence that he didn’t want revelations of widespread government surveillance to be about him, supporters across social media are making about him.
Several Facebook community pages are already up and running, including the Edward Snowden Support Page, Edward Snowden Supporters page and Edward Snowden fan page, which heralded the “individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in U.S. political history.”
The Edward Snowden support page was rapidly growing on Sunday afternoon, with supporters calling the whistle-blower a “21st century hero.”
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Across Twitter, it was more of the same, with the overwhelming majority of Snowden-related tweets expressing support for the whistle-blower.
Get ready for the personal smear attacks on Edward Snowden. Don't let those attacks distract from the main story. guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun…
â€” Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallSt) June 9, 2013
Unsurprisingly, the newly minted public figure has already inspired a few parody Twitter accounts as well:
Yeah, it was me. Later on, I'll be dishing out what the 11 secret herbs and spices are too!
â€” Edward Snowden (@EdwardSnowdenQA) June 9, 2013
Despite the instant social-media fame, Snowden does not appear to have public Facebook or Twitter account (which is not surprising for a whistle-blower who chose to out himself and risk becoming the most wanted man in the world). However, updates will be posted here if details of Snowden’s social-media presence are uncovered.
The Guardian identified Snowden as a former technical assistant for the Central Intelligence Agency. The paper also said he is a current employee of a unit of the Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (NYSE:BAH), a defense contractor.
Snowden spent the last four years working at the NSA as an employee of outside contractors that included Booz Allen and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), the U.K. newspaper reported.
Snowden, who was living in Hawaii and is now said to be hiding out in Hong Kong, told the Guardian he doesn’t expect to see home again.