1 year on: An analysis of 10 million tweets about Edward Snowden

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It’s 1 year since the NSA leaks, and we’ve used our analytics and visualisation tools to crunch 10,146,900 tweets that mention Edward Snowden.

It seems the first ever tweet to mention Edward Snowden was from Janine Gibson (3 minutes before Glenn Greenwald himself).

We created a visualisation to show how, once his identity became public, the mentions of Snowden quickly overshadowed the mentions of the NSA and Prism.

Who is tweeting about Snowden

We found 8,836,300 unique accounts that had mentioned Snowden in a tweet. Here are the 10 that were most retweeted or mentioned with regards to Snowden.

UsersNumber of RTs or mentions
Glenn Greenwald
234,700
WikiLeaks205,900
The Guardian103,000
RT en Español84,300
RT77,800
Nicolás Maduro44,600
Barack Obama43,000
The Associated Press42,600
Reuters Top News41,700
The New York Times39,300

What are they tweeting?

Below are the top tweets, hashtags, words and urls.

Top tweets

Top hashtags

HashtagNumber of times it was used
#nsa682,500
#prism175,000
#wikileaks110,400
#assange103,500
#manning72,300
#privacy70,200
#obama64,200
#russia50,300
#tcot48,300
#anonymous43,800

Top Cities

City% of tweets
Washington3%
London3%
New York3%
Caracas2%
Berlin3%
Los Angeles1%
San Francisco1%
Paris1%
Toronto1%
Chicago1%
Initially Washington appeared as the city with the highest number of tweets. By the second month, Caracas was the highest, as Snowden was offered asylum by President Maduro. Since then top cities have remained fairly consistent with New York, London and Washington all being in the top spot at different times.

Traitor or Patriot?

This chart shows the percentage of tweets that contain ‘patriot’ or ‘traitor’ when discussing Snowden. Obviously this can include reporting of other people’s opinions rather than just reflecting the overall options of Twitter users, but it is still interesting that there were a couple of months where the order flipped.

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