Like many men his age, Francois Cousteix enjoys playing video games and surfing the web.
But this 24-year-old Frenchman may have taken his hobby just one step too far when he hacked the the Twitter accounts of US President Barack Obama and singer Britney Spears.
But Cousteix, who is unemployed and still lives at home with his mother, claims there were truly altruistic reasons behind his internet antics.
“I just wanted to show that nobody is completely safe on the internet, whether it is big companies or just ordinary users,” he said in an interview.
“The company I targeted was Twitter so I went after important people in that company such as its founder Evan Williams,” the 24-year-old added.
Despite his good intentions, Cousteix’s hacking exploits attracted the attention of US authorities, leading to an unexpected dawn visit from police at his home near Clemont Ferrand, central France.
“There were even four FBI agents there from America ,” said his mother Christine. “But they were very nice and friendly. They listened attentively to Francois.”
The FBI joined local police in questioning Cousteix over two days.
If convicted under French law, Cousteix could face two years in jail and a 30,000-euro fine.
Twitter, based in San Francisco, California, has declined to comment on the case.