Twitter introduces its own Tor onion service. This is partly due to the recent blockade in Russia. The idea is that this service allows users to keep access to Twitter in a secure and reliable way, even if it is subject to censorship or blocking.
Software developer Alec Muffett, who has often helped services and websites set up their own onion service, has released the version for Twitter. announced† According to him, Twitter’s new onion service offers more privacy, integrity, trust and the advantage that it cannot be blocked just like that. He sees it as an important tool for people from all over the world who use Twitter to communicate.
Twitter, through a spokesperson, told Motherboard that making the platform more accessible is an ongoing priority. The spokesperson refers to a support page where, in addition to all supported browsers, there is now also a link to the onion service.
Muffett, who also contributed to the implementation of the onion service for Twitter, was the first to report on this introduction. He says that this was done deliberately based on previous experience. He points to the previously introduced onion URLs for Facebook and the BBC. Muffett says that a big announcement quickly creates too much traffic. That didn’t seem sensible to him in this case, with a ‘global crisis’ and the fact that Twitter Safety has 3.6 million followers.
With Tor, in full The Onion Router, internet traffic is routed through various tunnels to make it more difficult to trace the internet traffic. This has become a lot more relevant recently as Russia has restricted the reachability of Twitter and Facebook. Facebook came up with its own onion URL back in 2014.
The Tor browser has been blocked by some carriers in Russia since December last year. Tor Project tells Motherboard that the level of blocking in Russia varies and that if the Tor network is blocked, users can sometimes still gain access through the use of a bridge.