Social media platform Twitter has built a dedicated Onion portal that can be accessed via the Tor browser. The service adds to the standard Twitter site that could already be accessed via the privacy-focused Tor browser, but now, Twitter has a specific Onion address that makes accessing the site via Tor safer – and adds to the overall feature set that Tor users will be privy to.
Onion addresses on the internet are typically anonymised, and are used by the Tor (The Onion Router) browser to route traffic while anonymising a user’s details. This ensures that users can bypass government-imposed censorship of specific websites and services – such as what Russia has done with Facebook and Twitter over the past couple of weeks.
Alec Muffett, who helps companies build Onion portals and was a key contributor to Twitter’s Tor project, said via Twitter that the company’s Onion address has been in discussions since the past eight years. While Twitter was already accessible via Tor, the move to build a dedicated address and access point for users on Tor suggests that Twitter is specifically catering to those who need to access it through an anonymised route. It also makes finding Twitter safer, since it now has an official address that can prevent users from being redirected into malicious sites on Tor itself.
Twitter can be accessed via Tor or any other Onion browser via the following address – https://twitter3e4tixl4xyajtrzo62zg5vztmjuricljdp2c5kshju4avyoid.onion.
Twitter seemingly did not make an official announcement on the matter in a bid to avoid an overflow of traffic via Tor servers – thereby keeping the service up and running for those who actually need it. For instance, with the Russian government censoring open access to information, the Twitter Tor portal can act as a gateway for users to find neutral reportage on the ongoing conflict.
Fellow social media platform Facebook has had a dedicated Onion address since 2014 itself, and according to The Verge, said in 2016 that over a million users were accessing its service through its Onion site, every month.