Facebook use over Tor passes 1M per month

169 views Leave a comment


The series of people regulating a Tor anonymizing browser to entrance Facebook has passed the one million symbol this month for a initial time, Facebook has announced.

Tor (aka The Onion Router) is a network technology designed to boost a remoteness of web users by encrypting and incidentally routing Internet connectors around a worldwide network of proffer relays — thereby making it harder for particular web connectors to be traced behind to a particular user.

Facebook created a dedicated onion residence for Tor entrance behind in Oct 2014, aimed during creation it easier for users to connect via Tor, given that a approach a network routes trade can be flagged by site confidence infrastructure.

Facebook also expanded a Tor support at a start of this year by rolling out support for a Android Orbot proxy, giving Android Facebook users an easier approach to use Tor.

The company said currently that growth of Tor over a past few years has been “roughly” linear, observant that some 525,000 people entrance a use around Tor in Jun 2015 — rising to pierce than one million this month. (Albeit it’s really most a dump in a sea of Facebook use generally, with a association stating some-more than 1.59BN users as of January this year.)

“This [Tor] expansion is a thoughtfulness of a choices that people make to use Facebook over Tor, and a value that it provides them. We wish they will continue to yield feedback and assistance us keep improving,” Facebook added.

Discussing because users of a amicable media service, whose business indication relies on tracking and profiling users by enlivening them not to be private about their data, might see any point in using Tor’s network to entrance pronounced use (given that their information is going to be anything though private once they get there), Tor flags up some specific use-cases because a underline competence still be useful to people, including location obfuscation.

Its routing complement around a network of relays means it disguises a user’s earthy plcae — presumably also cloaking that location data from Facebook. (Albeit, if we fb Messenger your crony about a ‘great holiday you’re carrying in Chicago’ Facebook is going to be means to figure out where we are anyway…)

Update: Tor has reliable this supposition, with a mouthpiece for a organization telling TechCrunch: “When regulating Facebook website over Tor, Tor Browser is in assign of that data, so it is anonymous. Of course, someone competence post a standing update saying that they are during some restaurant, for instance, and that would de-anonymize them.”

Another reason Tor points to is to safeguard a user’s temperament doesn’t trickle to intermediaries — such as ISPs or “an organisation that surveils a Internet”.

“Political activists classify on Facebook: Their open temperament is critical in their work. So is their safety,” it records in a statement.

It adds that countries where Internet entrance (or use of Facebook specifically) is blocked or censored can also be a proclivity for people to use Tor as a workaround for that block (i.e. rather than as a privately pro-privacy service).

“Many people use Tor in countries where the Internet is censored, not in sequence to be anonymous. Tor allows them to access a uncensored Internet, including reaching Facebook. In Iran, for instance, Facebook is blocked. So people use Tor to get onto the Internet and browse, and from there they can strech Facebook.”

Plus it argues there are confidence advantages “inherent” in a structure of a network, such as creation man-in-the-middle attacks some-more formidable to lift out.

For a partial Facebook does not excavate too categorically into a psychology of a Tor users though only notes that people use Tor for “a accumulation of reasons associated to privacy, confidence and safety”.

Why does Facebook caring about Tor? Providing another track for users who competence not differently wish to or be means to entrance a use means it potentially gets to keep/gain that tiny organisation of people as Facebook users.

But, if we wish to be more asocial about it, we could contend Facebook is enchanting in a small brandwashing of a data-powered business model by cosying up to a good famous entity in a privacy/security space — that competence outcome in the notice that it cares about user privacy.

Sure Facebook is happy to strengthen your information from descending into a hands of companies disconnected to a business. But, remember, once we pass by those blue gates it’s a information free-for-all.