Twitter has launched its website on the Tor (The Onion Router) network according to an announcement made by software developer and internet security evangelist Alec Muffett on Twitter post-midnight today.
In the past, Muffet has helped organisations like the New York Times, Wikipedia, and BBC News create services on the Tor network. According to him, he helped Twitter engineers with the adoption of the Tor network as well. Twitter has updated its list of supported browsers to include the Tor network and browser. It can be accessed on the Tor network through: https://twitter3e4tixl4xyajtrzo62zg5vztmjuricljdp2c5kshju4avyoid.onion.
This move from the company comes at a time when the Russian government has banned access to sites like Twitter, Facebook and some news platforms in an apparent attempt to cut off the domestic audience from news and opinions from around the world.
This is possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I’ve ever composed.
On behalf of @Twitter, I am delighted to announce their new @TorProject onion service, at:https://t.co/Un8u0AEXeE pic.twitter.com/AgEV4ZZt3k
— Alec Muffett (@AlecMuffett) March 8, 2022
While you could already access Twitter’s normal website through the Tor network, the new .onion domain is only accessible through the Tor network and browser. Also, since the site is now on the Tor network there is no need for traffic to be routed through a Tor exit node.
This means that both the user and the web server they are using is being anonymised. Otherwise, the user’s traffic is rerouted through Tor relays before going out of the network through an exit node.
This also means that the potential of malicious Tor exit nodes are mitigated, which means that users can for the most part circumvent national website blocks. According to Muffet’s blog, if you type in the exact .onion address for a website, you are guaranteed to connect to the actual website, or you won’t connect to anything at all.
If you have used the Tor network to browse regular websites, you may have noticed that they often force users to go through multiple CAPTCHA codes, and sometimes don’t work at all, displaying the message, “Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later.”
This is based on the IP reputation of your exit node. Having a service built on Tor mitigates this problem as well.
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