Facebook, applications

Facebook is all set to turn users’ privacy into its top most priority in the next few days by launching a new feature that allows access to its platform through Tor.

By the end of this week, Facebook users would be able to access the platform through the Tor onion network. The feature is only available on Android devices, and it is unclear if Facebook will launch a similar feature on the iOS platform.

In order to access Facebook through Tor, users will have to download Orbot – a free proxy app that allows other apps to use a secure connection – on PlayStore. Orbot is the official proxy app from Tor and uses the onion address to encrypt a users’ internet connection so that they can access the web anonymously.

Once Orbot has been downloaded into a Android device, the Facebook app will automatically recognise the app. Users will have to check the ‘Use Tor via Orbot’ notification, while downloading for this feature to work on the Facebook app.

Facebook has clarified that the support to Tor through Orbot will be experimental. Orbot uses the Tor network to encrypt data, which then bounces a user’s internet connection through various systems spread across the globe to protect the identity of the user.

Facebook stated that the suggestion to incorporate this feature came from a computer-science student, who was an intern at Facebook’s London headquarters. During his first day of internship, the student pitched the idea, which has now turned into a reality.

It been more than a year since Facebook started allowing access to its platform through the Tor network. The social network launched a onion address of its own in October of 2014, a move that has been received well by a sizeable population of users.

Facebook stated that the move has “increased the security of Tor connections to Facebook by eliminating the steps that required traffic to travel beyond the cryptographic assurances provided by the Tor network”.

Until now, users could only access Facebook on Tor through a select browsers that enabled the Tor network.

Tor is a subscription free software that keeps a user’s identity and location secure from certain traffic analytics tools. Those wishing to access Facebook through Tor on their Android devices might have to wait until the end of this week.


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