Facebook Sets Up Home Upon Tor – That’s Something Really Cool

Privacy and social media has always seemed like two very contrasting words.

‘What’s on your mind?’ is what a not-so-stringent Facebook asks, urging its users to share possibly anything and everything over the social networking site. From which brand of brown bread they had for breakfast to how many times their partner snored last night, everything has to, has to appear on Facebook. Status updating, they call it.

This fact reigning, it does sound totally weird that the social networking king should accept, with arms wide open, the Tor network, an open source ‘dark web’ service.

So, what really is this Tor thing?
Tor, acronym for The Onion Router, is a free software which enables users to reach up to all Internet resources without getting traced and anonymously. This .Onion router was initially developed at the Research Laboratory of the U.S Navy. Today, it has turned into ‘The Tor Project’, a non-profit group concerned about R&D of online privacy stuff.

How does the network work?
Basically, the network hides a user’s IP address, thus keeping his location a secret. It runs your traffic through different Tor servers along with encrypting it so that your login and location remains untraceable. To use the network, you must have the Tor browser. But since the data undergoes routing with a lot of hiding and hush-hush, expect some slow, sluggish performance to bother you – the biggest flaw in Tor.

The Facebook equations with Tor:
Earlier, there were serious connectivity issues regarding accessing Facebook via Tor. Owing to the way the network service worked and behaved, the automated privacy settings of the social media platform would detect malicious activities coming through the network instantly and block such connections mistaking poor users to be hacked accounts.

But, now, the social media networking site has introduced an Onion address which will be accessible only via Tor browsers or other Tor-enabled browsers. So, along with the default HTTP secured browsing, Facebook will be available to its users via the Tor network too. And this is, in one way, security plus given that the rest shall be kept away from viewing your data and details. Another advantage – Facebook will now be accessible even in those places where it is blocked. Tor does the trick (although China vows to get rid of both. The ever running cat-and-dog fight, it is!).

So, Facebook’s getting more private, eh?
This step goes ahead further and makes Facebook the first ever Silicon Valley king to officially accept the Tor network. But like I said, privacy and social media have always been antonymous. Tor or no Tor, you’ll still need to log in to the platform with your original credentials. So, unless you are browsing and only browsing, this thing of anonymity does not actually serve the purpose.

On second thoughts, so what if I reveal to Facebook my details? Should that make it come back for my location and details? That’s so not cool. Thus, for me, Tor browsing should definitely win, shouldn’t it?


A post by Chayanika Deka. 6th of November, 2014.

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